In addition to the engagement efforts described above, in early January 2021, we sent a personal letter to all the Stó:lō leaders, including Chiefs and Councilors, in all 24 Stó:lō Communities. The letter introduced the Project, acknowledged it was on the Traditional lands of the Stó:lō people, and asked for their advice and guidance on how we could follow their protocols and begin our formal engagement processes with all of the Communities.
In these challenging times with COVID, most Stó:lō Communities are closed and are following their own COVID protocols to protect their Members. This has made direct meetings and meetings impossible. However, we have been actively following up with them through our advisor on Indigenous matters and have been directly calling and are in communication with many of the Communities.
In April, we again connected with all 24 Stó:lō Communities and each Community’s Leadership personally, providing our Project announcement press release and website address, and again asking how we can continue to properly engage with their Community, in accordance with each Community’s protocols and procedures. In addition, we have reached out to the broader Indigenous communities and business organizations in S’ólh Téméxw.
To date, we have provided detailed presentations about BVMR to 10 Stó:lō Communities. The presentations include information about the project provided by BVMR’s owners, Brent Harley and Associates (the mountain resort designer) and our advisor on Indigenous matters. Additional Community presentations are planned for June.
Generally, we have had a positive response to our engagement with Stó:lō Leadership and we will continue to provide Stó:lō Communities and Leadership with Project updates through direct and ongoing correspondence. Although the BVMR Team has been very active and engaged throughout S’ólh Téméxw, it is important to note that the Project is still in the very early stages of its consultation and respectful relationship-building with the Stó:lō Communities.