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“Extinct” Indigenous group fights for recognition – Radio Canada International

October 25, 2019

Canada’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of an American indigenous man who claims to be a descendant of the Sinixt First Nation, formerly of British Columbia. The problem is that the Canadian government declared the group “extinct” in 1956.

The situation goes back to 1902 when the Canadian government set aside reserve land for the Sinixt in the Arrow Lakes Valley of British Columbia not far from the U.S. border. At that time there were 30 registered members although others lived in the area but were not registered.

With the arrival of settlers, miners and lumberjacks in the late 1800’s, it’s claimed that many members moved south into Washington state for safety and joined in with the Lakes Tribe there. The last registered member in Canada died in 1953, and in 1956 the government declared the band extinct and reclaimed the reserve land.

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