November 22, 2021: North Vancouver, BC – Today, the Squamish Nation is pleased to announce the introduction of a new Council Chairperson and new Spokespersons for the Nation. First elected to Squamish Council in 2017, Khelsilem has been elected through acclamation as Council Chairperson after the election results of September 26. His lifelong work has focused on progressive social change and democracy, climate justice, and gender equity. As a Councillor, he served as Spokesperson for the Nation and sat on various Council committees. Khelsilem is a strong advocate of Squamish language and culture, having founded the first adult Squamish language school in partnership with Simon Fraser University.
“The Squamish Nation is growing every year to regain our power to address the needs and priorities of our Squamish People. Our success builds on the work of our dear ancestors, and I am honoured to continue their work by serving the Squamish Nation as Chairperson.”
– Khelsilem, Council Chairperson
Taking over the roles of Spokespersons for the Nation are Syexwáliya (Ann Whonnock) and Sxwíxwtn (Wilson Williams). Syexwáliya returns to Council after serving from 1989-2005 and from 2009-2017. Syexwáliya also served as a former Council Co-Chairperson. A Longhouse Elder with cultural and traditional protocols knowledge, she brings experience and a strong voice to the role. Sxwíxwtn was first elected to Council in 2013 and re-elected again this year. Sxwíxwtn is a proud Squamish Nation Member, who believes in giving back to the community and is an advocate for all the Nation’s Membership and economic growth, to ensure a bright and prosperous future.
“It is a great responsibility to be one of the Spokespersons for the Nation. I look forward to be able to tell the story of our People and the enriched and positive impact that our Members have, not just in our community but in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the province of BC.”
– Syexwáliya, Council Spokesperson
“I am humbled to be chosen as a Spokesperson. The story of the Squamish Nation is one that is respectful of the past, with a future full of promise and opportunity. I hope our voices will help share the culture, depth and expertise of our community.”
– Sxwíxwtn, Council Spokesperson
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The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) is a vibrant and dynamic Coast Salish Nation that has existed and prospered within its traditional territory since time immemorial. The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Stélmexw (Squamish People) continue to reside in the area now described as the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. The largest proportion of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Members live in several urban reserve communities in the present-day cities of Vancouver, North and West Vancouver and the municipality of Squamish, B.C. Over 47 per cent of the more than 4,050 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Members live on-reserve, and membership is determined by guidelines set out in the Squamish Nation Membership Code. The Nation has never ceded or surrendered title to its lands, rights to its resources or the power to make decisions within its territory.