Shxw’owhamel First Nation Government
Traditionally, Stό:lō communities were led by Si:yam who were the most respected and reputable members of the community.
The Shxw’owhamel First Nation Si:yam government system gives all families in the community equal representation on the Council. The Si:yam Council provides leadership regarding the affairs of the Band but receives its guidance and mandate from its families.
What is a Siya:m?
· A Si:yam is the main leader of a family.
· A Si:yam is selected by their families to represent their interests
· A Si:yam, traditionally was hardworking, knowledgeable, wealthy, and generous.
· A Si:yam has the respect of the community. If s/he does anything to bring shame or disrespect to her/his family or community, another family member should replace her/him.
Good qualities of a Si:yam:
· Respected · Familiar with Stό:lō culture and tradition
· Respectful of others · Be a positive role model
· Honest · Good at dispute resolution
· Fair minded and impartial · A good listener
· Humble · Recognized as a leader
· Confident · Good communicator
A Si:yam can be replaced by her/his family if s/he:
· Misrepresents her/his community
· Defrauds the community
· Is unfair and hurtful in the treatment of the employees
· Is guilty of a capitol offence such as trafficking in drugs, child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, theft and other major unacceptable acts.
Terms of Reference of a Si:yam
1. The Si:yam Council coordinates all policy and decision making. This authority comes from the family members who select their Siya:m.
2. The Si:yam form the Council, which makes decisions and set policies for the Band.
3. The Si:yam Council has the obligation to make decisions for the community, with the exception of land and resources.
4. The Si:yam Council is responsible for ensuring that band programs and services promote Stό:lō traditional cultural values.
5. The Si:yam Council is responsible for keeping themselves informed on program issues, services and needs of their community. They must keep informed on the overall financial matters of the Band.
6. The Si:yam Council takes joint responsibility for every decision.
7. The Si:yam Council decisions are the result of the full participation of each Si:yam.
8. All the Si:yam Council will decide who will represent their community and its interests at the various political groups for example Stό:lō Nation, First Nation Summit, etc.
The families will select a member who will represent them on Council when the Si:yam is not available for the Council meeting. The alternates will be selected on the same criteria as the Si:yam.