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the first time with the many First Nations throughout BC, as few if any treaties were ever negotiated or signed in the past.

In 1960 First Nations people living on reserves were granted the right to vote in federal elections in Canada. 1960 also saw the beginning of the phasing out of Indian residential schools in BC but it was not until 1985 that the last residential school was closed. All native children as other children in Canada are now taught in Public Schools or Private Schools of their choice.

Although changes were forthcoming, the Kwikwetlem still did not have many of the things we take for granted until the 1980s, which included sewer lines, telephones and running water. Winnefred Joe became Chief in 1988. She was a reluctant chief, not having been trained for the position, but like many native women, she was strong and saw that things had to change. Winnefred took care of her children and those of her sister, especially after the emotional difficulties they suffered arising from the residential schools. She took things into her own hands in order to bring in fill and gravel to keep their land from flooding. She did not

In 1972 the Supreme Court of Canada in the Calder Case ruled that the Nisga’a people of northern BC had never given up their rights to their lands, thereby forcing the Provincial Government of BC to begin negotiating for

Kwikwetlem First Nations At The Olympic Celebration At Mackin Park 2010

put up with government “rules” to get what she knew was truly needed for her people. The Kwikwetlem First Nation, as with many other First Nations in BC, has managed to survive in spite of generations of physical, emotional and economic hardship. The Kwikwetlem band council and people are active in rejuvenating the religious, cultural and economic prosperity of their community. In August of 2000, they held a potlatch celebration, inviting people to “get to know our neighbours”. At that celebration, the native band formally changed its name from Kwayhquitlum to Kwikwetlem, as Chief Marvin Joe explained that the word had been spelled and pronounced incorrectly for years.15

The Kwikwetlem First Nation

moved away from the reserves because there was no adequate housing; at one point, only 14 people remained.14

Official Opening Of Spirit Square 2010

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