Jonny Jones talks about what it means to be Lil’wat, and how the Lil’wat Nation has never unceded their territory, allowing them to fully govern their land, asserting sovereign right and title over the Nation. He recalls that since the age of 5, his family, elders and community leaders imbued in him the cultural and spiritual responsibility to take care of the land. Buy the age of 16, he was awarded ‘watchmen status’, where it would become he and other watchmen’s life’s work to watch over and care for the land. Today, in coordination with the Land and Resource Department of the Mt. Currie Band Office, Johnny works as ‘Cultural Technician’, where he records and monitors culturally significant sites, so that intruders can legally be kept 50 meters from the areas. Jonny reflects on the Lil’wat Nations’ many court cases, where the Nation defended itself against industrial companies looking to expropriate precious resources and destroy the land. From protecting ancient burial sites and culturally significant pictographs, to protecting trees from clear cutting, the desire and the birthright responsibility to protect the sacred land, has and will always be the first and foremost priority.
Disclaimer: All testimonies are the experiences and beliefs of the individuals interviewed.
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