Port of Call LAST UPDATE July 12, 2005
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September 9, 2003 Vancouver, Canada
Mathew Andrew and Peace Boat participants at the lake in Mount Currie
For many Peace Boat participants, it was the first time they had cupped their hands and drunken water directly from a river. The people of St'at'imc Nation have known the purity of the water at Sutikalh for hundreds of years, along with the grizzly and black bears, cougars, goats, fish and medicinal plant life that thrive in the pristine habitat.

In May 2000, responding to the Provincial Government's decision to give permission to a 500 million dollar ski resort to be constructed by Nancy Greene-Raine Resort Consultants in Sutikalh, a peace camp was established by the St'at'imc people to reoccupy their tribal territory and protect it from a development that would threaten the future of their land.

Mathew Andrew, a 28-year-old member of the St'at'imc Nation, led over 30 Peace Boat participants past the wealthy resort town of Whistler, to visit and stay with members of the Lil'wat community challenging the plans of the developers.
Listening to the history of First Nation people and their struggle for human rights
Living off the land and being in balance with nature is an ancient way of life for the St'at'imc people. Rich with many kinds fish - including salmon and trout - the Mount Currie delta is part of this symbiosis and central to the diet of the community.

The oral history of the area, passed down through generations over thousands of years, tells of the time the whole valley was filled with water in a great flood. Now the lake is filling up with sand washed from down the river, threatening a habitat that has provided food for the St'at'imc people for millennia.

Before the sun set behind the snow capped mountains, Peace Boat participants paddled out into the lake with the local people to catch salmon. To protect salmon numbers, August and September are the only months that they are caught.

Despite the St'at'imc tradition of respect for sustainability of the environment, they are under constant pressure to adhere to laws imposed - with many cases of excessive force - by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Waking up to the pure air and fresh water of Lil'wat
Warmly welcomed by the community of Lil'wat, Peace Boat participants ate a dinner which included the salmon caught only a few hours earlier, before listening to Rosalin Sam, one of the first members of her community to establish the camp at Sutikalh, and Wolverine, an active campaigner for indigenous land and human rights.

"I do not want this land to be destroyed," opened Rosalin, expressing how important it is for her as a mother to save the land so future generations are able to use and enjoy it. She could not bear to see the land lost to "a ski resort for the rich," and says the map of the proposal shows the real scale of destruction with plans for a golf course, ski lift and tampering with the only untouched watershed in the territory.
The untouched watershed under threat from the developers
Sentenced to 8 and a half years in the state penitentiary for "maintaining my life," Wolverine was part of the 1995 uprising at Gustafsen Lake, in which over 400 Canadian Army and Police were involved in a standoff with 18 First Nation people holding a Sundance festival on unceded territory.

"Canada is not a just country," argues Wolverine, pointing out the contradiction of Canada's claim to a strong human rights record whilst still using landmines against its native people. "We are not Canadian, but people of the land." Wolverine is not alone in his defiance of a government that has a long history of flagrant abuse against its indigenous population.
Walking through the gate of the Sutikalh Peace Camp
After a night of traditional singing and drumming from the St'at'imc hosts, participants rose early to experience the stunning views and pure air of a wilderness that has so far been preserved from the developers.

Thanking the Peace Boat participants for coming to support her people's plight, Rosalin gave out gifts of painted stones. The symbols or pictures of bears, eagles and families, were copies of Petra glyphs found in the surrounding area, telling stories of hunting trips, visits of other nations and transformations of humans into animals.

Before participants went on to the camp, Rosalin explained how it is a travesty that foreign investors have more rights to land they have lived on for thousands of years, and appealed to Peace Boat to lobby the Japanese companies backing the proposed resort.
Hubert Jim, a permanent protestor at the camp, even through the harsh mountain winters
Sutikalh has been shot at by hunters, set on fire, vandalised and had its members arrested and beaten up by the police. Yet despite the various attacks, the people of St'at'imc are still there, along with the animals, fresh air and pure water.

Peace Boat participants were privileged to enter the camp and be received with a traditional welcome song and prayer. Not the first international visitors to pledge support for the protest against the ski resort, the camp has also welcomed people from Chile, China, Germany and Norway.
A farewell ceremony with traditional drumming and singing from the St'at'imc people
Speakers from the St'at'imc nation, including Chief Garry John, campaigner James Louis and permanent camp resident Hubert Jim, spoke to the participants of their ongoing commitment to protect their territorial lands.

"I'm tired of talking to Canada about them stealing our land," said James Louis, talking of his fight for self determination and to be recognised as a human being without signing a piece of paper that would allow the Canadian government to tell him "how to be Indian.
United against the destruction of Sutikalh
Participants also learned about the medicinal plants that grow in abundance around the camp and the regular sightings of Grizzly bears despite the development-sponsored survey of the area, which declared that they were "infrequent visitors of Melvin Creek."

Before Peace Boat said farewell to the defiant people of St'at'imc Nation, Chief Garry John spoke of their "obligation to continually remind the government that without a treaty they have no legal right to occupy their land." Sutikalh has never been surrendered or signed away to the authorities, and through legal, political and direct action, the St'at'imc people vow to protect their ancient land from destruction.