T'it'q'et, BC

The community of T'ít'q'et (formerly Lillooet Indian Band) situated adjacent to the town of Lillooet is approximately 254 kilometres northeast of Vancouver BC on Highway 99. T'ít'q'et, one of eleven communities within the St'át'imc Nation, share a common language, culture, history and territory. T'ít'q'et currently has 394 registered members. The band has seven reserves including the main reserve Lillooet I.R. 1 and a shared reserve with the Bridge River Indian Band. Statistics Canada 2006 data shows an increasing aging population on the T'ít'q'et reserve. The T'ít'q'et on reserve population between the ages of 0 to 24 years is 38% of the population in comparison to the national aboriginal averages of almost 50% and the non –aboriginal population of 31%. The T'ít'q'et median age is 33 years compared to BC median age of 40.8 years. Seniors represent 17% of the on reserve population, which is greater than national aboriginal population of 5% and 13% of the non-Aboriginal population. T'ít'q'et education profile and training human resource capacity demonstrated by INAC Statistics 2006 shows 13% of T'ít'q'et members have completed a university, 23% of members have completed a trades or college certificate, 23% of members have completed a high school diploma and 38% have completed no degree, certificate or diploma. T'ít'q'et and the surrounding area of Lillooet has largely thrived from a forestry based economy. The forestry industry has been severely impacted by the pine beetle infestation and market changes. According to INAC statistics 2006, the unemployment rate for T'ít'q'et residents is 30.4 % compared to BC average of 6%. This is 5 times greater than the BC average. The St'át'imc had its own social organization and practiced its own form of governance pre-European contact. This changed significantly when the Indian Act was first implemented that eventually introduced an elected Chief and Council system governing system. More recently, T'ít'q'et has developed a more traditional model of governance based on family representation to ensure all families have equal opportunity into the major decisions impacting the community. In 2005, the community adopted its own Constitution, Sxeks ta Ntáakmensa i P'egp'íg'lha. The Constitution consists of articles which declare the P'egp'íg'lha as intrinsically connected to a Creator; have an inherent responsibility to steward the unceded land and territory; have a right to self-government including areas such as justice and the economy; and acknowledge the relationship to other St'át'imc communities. The current governance system includes the elected Chief and Council, Elders Council and P'egp'íg'lha Council who are ultimately accountable to the T'ít'q'et membership. The elected Chief and Council are responsible for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada programs and Health Canada programs, and any on reserve issues. The Elders Council is mandated to oversee justice, culture and language. The P'egp'íg'lha Council is responsible for off reserve matters including title and rights and matters involving territorial issues which is also shared with other St'át'imc communities.