Our land is a gift from the Creator – a gift which we care for according to the culture, traditions, customs, and laws of Sq’ewá:lxw.
In May 2010 we adopted the Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation Land Code which replaced the land management provisions of the Indian Act. The Code enables us to regain control over our lands and resources for the use and benefit of our members.
Land Code empowers us to enact and enforce laws respecting land use and management, the possession and development of land, and the protection and conservation of natural and cultural resources.
We have seen the mistakes of the past and Sq’ewá:lxw people have a different vision of the future. We have developed an Environmental Management Plan which we will use to ensure that we always have clean air, water, and soil.
The plan helps us prevent, minimize, or mitigate environmental impacts associated with development – development which we need to build a strong community. As a result of this planning, environmental considerations will be fully incorporated into decision-making processes.
Sq’ewá:lxw has developed a land use plan for our reserves and traditional territories.
A land use plan expresses the vision of the people as a spatial arrangement of land use, facilities, and activities. Land use planning allows economic, cultural, and social development while ensuring sustainability. Land use planning is a Nation building exercise. It is an exercise of Aboriginal rights and an act of governance.
Sq’ewá:lxw has compiled a Development Permitting Guide to set out land development procedures on Sq’ewá:lxw First Nation reserve land for developers, contractors, holders of Certificates of Possession, members, residents, and other persons with interests in Sq’ewá:lxw lands.
The purpose of the development permitting process is to protect Sq’ewá:lxw values while encouraging economic development and addressing the need for quality affordable housing.
Sq’ewá:lxw has adopted the Stó:lō Heritage Policy Manual and the S’ólh Téméxw Use Plan as primary tools in the protection of cultural resources on our reserves and our traditional territory. Sq’ewá:lxw works closely with the Stó:lō Research and Resource Management Centre and the People of the River Referrals Office to engage with outside agencies addressing issues associated with title and rights, cultural heritage, and traditional use. This includes active participation in the Strategic Engagement Agreement between Stó:lō communities and the Province of British Columbia.