Splatsin referendum postponed

Elders have expressed concerns about a settlement proposal with Ottawa

Splatsin members aren’t going to the polls.

Council announced Friday that Saturday’s referendum on a proposed land claim settlement had been postponed.

“They’ve heard our voices,” said Jody Leon, with Protect our Ancestors, which opposes the settlement.

Council had been under significant pressure to halt the vote so further discussions could occur and information gathered about a former cemetery site now on private land.

“There have been statements of unity and council will be calling on the elders to move forward,” said Leon.

In 1877, the federal government agreed to designate the three-quarters-of-an-acre cemetery as reserve but the land was excluded in 1930.

Members were going to be asked Saturday if they supported a $300,000 offer from the federal government for the site.

Along with cancelling the referendum, Protect our Ancestors had called for an archeological study at Fortune Field and purchase of the site by senior government.

As part of the federal specific claims process,  council had previously indicated the band could possibly acquire the land from the private owner if there is a successful referendum.

Leon saysher group looking forward to increased dialogue with council.

“There is overwhelming happiness in the room,” she said.

“The elders are really united and there’s a strong feeling of healing. The good in the community has come forward.”

Leon insists there haven’t been divisions among Splatsin.

“It’s never been about them (elders) against council. They are reclaiming their role (as community leaders),” she said.

Splatsin council could not be reached for comment.