Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Launches Census

Eslhílhkw’iws Chet, a census of the Squamish Nation – brings all Members into focus.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw embarks on Nation’s largest data sovereignty exercise in history

On Monday July 18, 2022 Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw launched Eslhílhkw’iws Chet – we are all related, a census of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw.

The census is designed by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh to reflect its culture, worldview and priorities and all data collected will be stored by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw. Data gathered will inform the Nation’s Generational Plan, programs, services, and budgets for years to come.

Eslhílhkw’iws Chet is different than the federal census because it is designed and delivered by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw.

While it often feels that First Nation are over surveyed, most of the data collected by the federal government or provincial Indigenous organizations never trickles down to individual First Nations in a manner that is useful, meaningful, or actionable. Instead that data is grouped in high-level regional reports, unusable to the Squamish Nation government.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Spokesperson Sxwíxwtn, Wilson Williams

The census respects Sḵwx̱wú7mesh self-determination; it is comprised of a core questionnaire and nine optional sections. All Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Members are asked to complete the core and then to respond to other sections that interest them.

Every Member over the age of 18 is asked to respond to questions about housing, language fluency, access to harvesting sites, experiences of racism, community safety and much more. Parents and caregivers are invited to fill in the questionnaire on behalf of minor children and Members with cognitive or other impairments.

Members may complete the questionnaire online or door-to-door with Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Member enumerators.

Eslhílhkw’iws Chet will be repeated, and over time will help the Nation to understand how Members’ quality of life and priorities are changing.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is a fast-growing Nation with over 4,000 registered Members living all over the world. The Nation recognizes that right now, they only have a partial picture of its Members’ needs and priorities.

Williams describes that “When we don’t know where our relatives are, or what they are going through, it’s not possible to plan for the future. You can’t serve Members that you can’t see.”