T’kumlups, Secwepemcul’ecw –  Thursday, June 16, 2005


In Kamloops Supreme Court today, Justice F. Cole jailed four Secwepemc Nation members – Nicole Manuel, Rose Jack, Trevor Dennis and Mark Sauls for their participation in a 4 hour roadblock on August 24, 2001 at Skwelkwek’welt ( Sun Peaks Ski Resort )

Sentences ranged from 45 days for 28 year old Secwepemc mother of 2, Nicole Manuel, to 90 days for three other Secwepemc Nationals, Trevor Dennis 26, Rose Jack 25 and Mark Sauls 24. Two other Secwepemc Nationals in today’s proceedings, Beverly Manuel and Miranda Dick were given suspended and conditional sentences, respectively.

Following an established pattern since December 15, 2004, Justice Cole denied all attempts by the defence to have numerous constitutional questions submitted to his court concerning the BC Lands Act dealt with before sentencing in this matter was administered. “Since December 15, 2004, we have targeted the patently unconstitutional 1874 BC Lands Act as the center of our legal actions and defense.  Canada’s 1875 Duty of Disallowance reaffirms this illegal definition” stated defendant Beverly Manuel.

Secwepemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government spokesperson Janice Billy said “ I deplore the  imprisonment of my people for upholding our sacred responsibility to protect our land from destruction  by Sun Peaks Resort Corporation.”  She added, the “the imprisonment of our people is just one of the many immoral tactics used by the BC provincial courts, government, and corporations to continue the theft and destruction of our unceded lands.  Rather than deal honorably with us, the government uses  the RCMP, courts, and media to carry out their theft and destruction.  The young people jailed have shown tremendous courage to stand up to this oppressive and racist system”.

Attending court for the sentencing, Bonnie Andrew, councillor of the Neskonlith Indian Band, said “The government has to respect our rights to this land as Indigenous People and quit it’s ‘business as usual’ approach”. Despite the continuing desecration of our traditional territory and the governments refusal to respect our Title to Secwepemcul’ecw, Secwepemc Nationals will continue to ‘occupy, use and enjoy all lands within our Nation’. This is the exact principle which was mutually agreed upon by the Secwpemcul’ecw Traditional Peoples Government and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council on September 20, 2004 prior to the arrests of three other Sewepemc Nationals on September 21, 2004 at Skwelkwek’welt.



Three mountains have been clearcut to make room for Delta Hotels expansion and a 10,000-acre playground for tourists.

“Let’s be clear: this is not about a ski hill. It is about a plan to build a small city in the mountains, a place for urbanites to have a weekend getaway — and for developers to make a killing on real estate. Let’s be clear about something else: the massive expansion of the Sun Peaks Resort is an act of violence. British Columbia’s First Nation peoples have already been robbed of so much. It is the duty of all Canadians living on stolen land to join in the struggle to defend what is left.”  Naomi Klein, well known author of No Logo

Sun Peaks Resort is built in Secwepemc territories, land which has never been ceded, released, nor surrendered. The BC government and Sun Peaks therefore has no authority over the Secwepemc people or their lands.

Despite the recognition of the inherent land rights of Aboriginal People as Aboriginal Title in Delgamuukw, and despite the Haida decision that requires provincial and private interests to consult, obtain consent and accommodate Aboriginal interests prior to pursuing development on Aboriginal territories, federal and provincial governments still insist indigenous peoples must prove their title within the court system rather than by abiding by the principal of Title itself.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 asserts that "And We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described, or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements."

Still, Canada and BC, with disturbing disregard for the highest legal authority in Canada, continue to ignore Secwepemc Title and consequently ignore their own laws. The United Nations has repeatedly condemned Canada for violating International Human Rights in its treatment of indigneous communties and the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights recently visited Secwepemc Territories to document the injustices committed against the peoples of land.

The development of Sun Peaks Resort has continued without participation of those with Title to the land. The government disregarded environmental and cultural impact studies performed by the Adams Lake and Neskonlith Indian Bands and refused to engage in consultation and meaningful discussion with the bands about the development. The Secwepemc attended stakeholder meetings and clearly said no to the development. Land and Water BC however, clearly disregarded their voices and granted new leases to Sun Peaks to facilitate their expansion.

Since purchasing the resort in 1992, the Japanese holding company, Nippon Cable, has expanded on site accomodation from 100 beds to 4000. In 1997, the BC government approved a $70 million development plan, allowing Sun Peaks to continue to expand their resort to 20,000 beds and put ski runs on the previously undisturbed Mt. Morrisey. In June 2004 with the Olympic bid, the expansion now totals $285 million:

The Secwepemc people set up the Skwelwek’welt Protection Center at the entrace of Sun Peaks resort in order to protect their Aborginal Title. To date, 54 arrests with charges from criminal contempt and intimidation by blocking a road to resisting arrest have been made. Charges range from criminal contempt, mischief, intimidation and obstruction of a police officer to intimidation by blocking a road, resisting arrest, and breach of bail conditions.

In January 2003, a BC judge found four Elders NOT guilty for refusal to obey an injunction obtained by Sun Peaks Resort to tear down the Skwekwek’welt Protection Center. The judge found that the Crown could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defenders intentions were criminl. As she left court, Elder Irene Billy stated: "I always knew we were right, this is our land, and Sun Peaks and the province cannot remove us.”


* Sun peaks demolished sacred sweatlodges: a vicious hate crime
* Sun Peaks deactivates roads with massive snow blockades, war-trenches, and locked gates to prevent Secwepemc use of the land.
* Over a dozen Secwepemc land-users are prohibited by courts from going within a 2-10 km radius of Sun Peaks.
* Sun Peaks forces arrests of 54 Elders, youth and land-users resulting in 90 days real jail time to single mothers, grandmothers, berry-pickers and hunters.
* In the past four years five Skwekwe’welt Protection Centers, two traditional cedar bark homes, a hunting cabin, two sacred sweat lodges, and one cordwood home (home to a young Secwepemc family) have all been bulldozed or burnt down.
* Destruction of the vital mountain ecosystem: Mount Morrisey, Mount Todd and Sundance are being cut.  These three mountains destroyed along with animal habitat of deer, moose, bears, beavers, lynx, bobcat, cougars, wolverines and other animals, along with destruction of plant systems that provide berries and medicine for the Secwepemc community.
* Sun Peaks resort pollutes the water with weed-control chemicals for their golf course and with chemical and bacterial additives used to make artificial snow. Sun Peaks over-consumes water and energy to make this artificial snow (it takes 1/3 the energy of a average town to run a medium ski area).


– Clear cut of a total of five mountains for ski runs, development on the drainage basin for commercial and residential real estate and expansion of a 9-hole golf course to an 18- hole golf course
– Sun Peaks has 5,858 bed units but it is approved to expand beyond 24,178 bed units in Phase 4.
– Sun Peaks Resort has the “right to develop ski facilities within a Controlled Recreation area of 4,139 hectares and purchase Crown Land for base facilities within the 864 hectares of Base Area Lands”.
– Sun Peaks Resort invests in developing the Controlled Recreation Area under a 50-year renewable lease to get cheap private land in the Base Area that they develop private homes for re-sale.
– In June 2004 Sun Peaks announced $285 million dollar real estate investment in Phase 2 of the Sun Peaks Master Plan.  Phase 2 is to eventually develop 10,352 bed units over the next 10 years
– This real estate investment would include 110 new homes, including a 50-unit condominium project, 44 unit town home project, 25 single-family homes and commercial units.

"On December 10th, 2001, International Human Rights Day, Sun Peaks Resort and the province of BC demolished several homes at Skwekwek’welt. One home demolished was my family’s. We returned home to discover our home bulldozed to the ground with absolutely no trace that we had ever been there. Where our house previously stood was a groomed ski trail.  The pain my family felt that day was unspeakable. I held my two children in my arms and we wept together. I will never understand how other human beings can treat us in such an atrocious, hateful way. It is wrong that Sun Peaks can come into our homes that we built with our blood, sweat and tears. Ultimately it is the Indigenous peoples, including my children, that are paying the real cost for Sun Peaks to exist where it is and for their tourists fun-filled packages." Native Youth Movement warrior Nicole Manuel 


Boyott Sun Peaks Resort and Delta Hotels, organize an information picket in front of local tour agencies to inform the public of Sun peaks human rights violations (SkiCan Canada is a major tourist package dealer with Sun Peaks), write letters to the BC and Canadian governments to respect inherent and legal Aboriginal Title, Write letters to Sun Peaks resort and Nippon Cable, donations for the legal defense fund, purchase Secwepemc documentaries and T-shirts. 

For more information: Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center P.O. Box 837, Chase, Britiish Columbia, Canada, V0E 1M0, Phone (250) 318-4290, Fax (250) 679-5306, e-mail: or

At add your name to the list of supporters below email and


Gordon Campbell, Premier
Government of British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V8W 9E1
Fax: (250) 387-0087
Phone: 250-387-1715

Wally Oppal
East Annex, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC, V8V1X4
Fax: 250 356-6176
Phone: 250 387-1866

Darcy Alexander
Vice President, General Manager
Sun Peaks Resort
1280 Alpine Rd.
Sun Peaks, BC
V0E 1Z1
tel#: 250-578-7222
fax#: 250-578-7223

Sample Letter


I am writing in support of the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center that has been protecting Secwepemc lands and culture that is being destroyed by Sun Peaks Resort and in support of the four Secpwemc youth who were recently
jailed for their courageous defense of their land and their rights.

It is clear that despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized Aboriginal Title, and that the Canadian Constitution of 1982 protects Aboriginal Title as an Aboriginal Right yet your political decision has been to extinguish Aboriginal Title. The recent Haida decision added a legal duty government and industry to consult and
accommodate Aboriginal Title even before it has been proved. It is clear that the recent endorsement by Canada and British Columbia of the $285 million dollar expansion of Sun Peaks is a deliberate and clear effort to extinguish Aboriginal Title.

Negotiations under the present extinguishment policy and process is failing (those negotiations have only been a benefit to those negotiators who get a pay check from those funds for the last 10 years); that the injunctions are not necessarily always conducive in balancing the interests between business and Aboriginal Rights; and that full blown
court decision takes 10 to 14 years; and all of these remedies put Secwepemc people at a decided disadvantage when dealing with the governments that are committed to an out dated status quo of marginalizing indigenous economic and cultural rights.

I reiterate the position of the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center that wants the expansion of Sun Peaks stopped and demand a new federal policy that recognizes Aboriginal Title in line with the legal mandate to consult and accommodate Aboriginal Title.

Yours sincerely,



Council of Canadians
Simon Fraser Student Society
Naomi Klein, Author of No Logo
Ward Churchill, famed author and activist
Women in the Woods
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)- BC
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Vancouver
Vancouver Association of Chinese-Canadians
Society for Threatened Peoples, Belgium
German Parliament Resolution
Mobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
Malcolm X Foundation
Grassroots Women- Vancouver
Native Youth Movement- Vancouver
Friends of Grassy Narrows- Winnipeg
Mohawk Eastern Society
New Socialist Group
Alternatives, Montreal
The Anti-Capitalist Convergence of Montreal (CLAC), Montreal
Bête Noire (NEFAC), Montreal
Block the Empire/Bloquez l'Empire, Montreal
Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP), Montreal
Dragon Root Center for Gender Advocacy, Montreal
Fire Women & Trans of Colour Collective, Montreal
Freedom School, Montreal
Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement (IPSM), Montreal
International Solidarity Movement (ISM)
Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia
Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at McGill
Rebel Desis, Montreal
South Asian Women's Community Center, Montreal
Al-Awda – the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, North America
Anti-Capitalist Community Action Ottawa (ACA), Ottawa
No One Is Illegal, Vancouver
No One is Illegal, Toronto
No One is Illegal, Montreal
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)
Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at Carleton, Ottawa
Anti-Poverty Committee, Vancouver
South Asian Youth Alliance, Vancouver
Friends and Families of Mexican Political Prisoners, Vancouver
Palestine Community Center, Vancouver
Youth Third World Alliance, Vancouver
Native Youth Movement- Vancouver
Bus Riders Union, Vancouver
Student Taking Action in Chiapas, Montreal
Break the Chains, Seattle
Redwire Native Youth Magazine
Pierre George (brother of Dudley George)
Native Solidarity Network Vancouver
Native Youth-Grassy Narrows
Settlers in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty
Toronto Native Youth Movement
Andean First Nations Council
Campaign to Stop Immigrant Detention-Guelph
No One is Illegal-Winnipeg
Friends of the Lubicon
Netherlands Center for Indigneous Peoples
United confederation of Taino People
Coalition against war hysteria and Racism- Montreal
Data Center-Oakland,
Defenders of Pil’alt Territories
Latin American Collective
Seattle Radical Women
Freedom Socialist Party-US]
Committee for Solidarity with Columbia- Vancouver
Downtown Eastside Residents Association- Vancouver
Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society- Vancouver
CopWatch- Vancouver
First Nations Student Council Seattle Central Community College