UBC Undergraduate Research

An Account of Ts‘kw’aylaxw philosophy and use of water in the central interior of British Columbia Stephens-Whale, Jessica


Since Contact, the Pavilion Indian Band (Ts'kw'aylaxw) have struggled in obtaining sufficient water to participate in subsistence and cultural practices. This has been a result of acts enforcing productive use while defining it outside of the context of Pavilion Band member uses. In many cases, disregard of Aboriginal title and Indian Reserve Commissioner's allocations have amalgamated to ignore First Nation needs and rights to water. In this paper water licenses allocated to the Pavilion Indian Band and white settlers such as Smith and Bryson of Bryson Cooperative Farming Association and the Carson family of Diamond S. Ranch have been analysed and presented as a narrative illustrating these inequalities within licensing allocations. The results showed that despite the Band's long standing occupation of Pavilion land, there are twelve licenses that hold priority over their allotments. Additionally, licenses have been issued and re-issued without consultation with the band and accord to western perspectives of what productive use is defined as. The effects of viewing water as a fixed resource for the Pavilion Indian band has resulted in unfair and unequal access to water for the Band. Uneven development and cultural deprivation are consequences that bands experience when unable to access sufficient amounts of staple needs to live healthy sustainable lives.

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