My name is James Hobart, Chief of the Spuzzum First Nation.
Our Band is located in between the communities of Yale and Boston Bar in the Fraser-Canyon. Spuzzum is one of 20 Indian Bands of the Nlaka’pamux Nation situated in British Columbia.
I know you had a tough task in front of you last fall with differing opinions proposed by different individuals and groups on boundary re-alignments. In October last year, I sent a submission to the Commission on behalf of Chief and Council of the Spuzzum First Nation. I am really happy to state that Commissioners listened to our plea and that of many other residents who live in the Hope and Fraser Canyon communities by re-instating Spuzzum, Yale, Boston Bar and Hope back into the constituency of Fraser-Nicola where we rightfully belonged.
Our communities were separated into two parts in 2009 when the electoral boundaries were re-drawn into Chilliwack-Hope and Fraser-Nicola. Spuzzum, Boothroyd, Boston Bar and Yale Indian Bands were taken out of the Yale-Lillooet constituency and placed in Chilliwack, with which we do not have anything in common.
The Nlaka’pamux Nation territory extends from Hope, the Fraser Canyon to north of Lytton, and to the east toward Ashcroft along the Thompson River, south through the Nicola and Similkameen Valleys and across the border into the United States. All our historic, cultural, economic, and language ties extend to the north and eastward, and the former Yale-Lillooet encompassed that perfectly. We live in an economically-depressed area of the province and have much in common with the other Nlaka’pamux First Nations and Non-Aboriginal communities of the current Fraser-Nicola constituency.
Our Band members are very pleased with the current Electoral Boundaries Commission’s decision to reverse the 2009 decision to remove our four Nlaka’pamux Indian Bands from the rest of the Nlaka’pamux Nation. As your report correctly states, moving Hope and the Fraser Canyon back into Fraser-Nicola will provide “more effective representation” for the residents of our area. For the longest time since 1966, we were a part and parcel of the Cariboo-Thompson Region. We share a common interest with the other Nlaka’pamux Indian Bands, and our “community interests” will now be better served.
Since we are re-instated with our traditional and historic constituency, I would further impress upon the Commission to re-instate our traditional and historic name of “Yale-Lillooet” as well. That would only be fitting.
Again, I thank you for making the appropriate changes in your Preliminary Report.
Chief, Spuzzum First Nation