“This Land Use Plan is created to honour S’ólh Téméxw and to look after all that belongs to Leq’á:mel First Nation – to seek guidance from the past and to care for the future as if it is already here.” - Leq’á:mel First Nation, 2014
Since they were placed on the land by the Creator, Leq’á:mel First Nation have occupied the vast territory running from what is now called the Lower Fraser Canyon, down the Fraser River, and out to the Pacific Ocean in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. As a result of the federal reservation system and colonial practices, their land base has been eroded until, today, the land base of the Leq’á:mel people is just 480.9 hectares of their vast traditional territory. The remaining land, located east of Mission, British Columbia, is split into ten individual parcels.
Leq’á:mel First Nation is one of the many Nations that has joined the First Nations Land Management Regime in order to assert greater control and decision making authority over their Lands. Preparing a land use plan was the next important milestone towards leveraging potential economic prosperity, increasing opportunities to sustain the community, retaining and promoting culture, and protecting and enhancing the environment.
The planning process became an opportunity to bring the community together and collectively create and “own” a land use plan that is based on community knowledge and that reflects the aspirations, culture, and values of the community. The land use plan was developed by Leq’á:mel First Nation Chief and Council, Heads of Family Advisory Group, members, and Elders, with Dillon providing support as their professional planning partner.
For the first time, the land use plan sets out land use designations and land use policies for the Leq’á:mel lands. It takes complex jurisdictional contexts, and a disjointed land base, and distills it into a clear document that is easy to use and implement. This plan will enable the future leaders and administrative staff to manage the lands based on the vision, policies, and directions developed by the community.
“Since time beyond memory, Leq’á:mel people have governed themselves and practiced their culture in the land of their ancestors. Leq’á:mel people are part of a complex network of relationships between families, villages and resources that developed out of thousands of years of societal growth within S’ólh Téméxw (“our world, our land”). This Land Use Plan is created to honour S’ólh Téméxw and to look after all that belongs to Leq’á:mel First Nation – to seek guidance from the past and to care for the future as if it is already here.” - Leq’á:mel First Nation, 2014