A delegation of Tsilhqot’in chiefs will be attending the 22nd session of the 2023 United Nations forum on Indigenous issues in New York City beginning April 17, 2023.
Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health and climate change: a rights-based approach, is the theme of this year’s forum.
“Only one person can present from our group and that will be me,” said Tsilhqot’in National Government tribal chair and Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse.
Joining him on the trip are Tl’esqox Chief Francis Laceese, Tsideldel Chief Otis Guichon and Xeni Gwet’in Chief Roger William as well as cultural ambassador Peyal Laceese.
The chiefs have attended before and Alphonse said the issues are different every time.
This time he plans to speak about First Nation communities experiences during the 2017 wildfires, environmental change and how that affects Indigenous communities and adapting policies to meet those changes.
While there the TNG delegates will host an event for other nations.
“Our Aboriginal rights and title case is the only one in Canada and the only Indigenous group anywhere in the world to win such a title case,” he said. “It’s inspirational to everyone from Maori people to Sámi people in Sweden to African tribes.”
He said it’s overwhelming, the impact their case has had by providing hope to Indigenous people.
“That’s the most powerful thing we can do. We want to help others in ensuring they continue to stand up for what is right.”