A Conversation with Rodney Cawston on Indigenous Identity, History and Cultural Survival

Rodney Cawston, Chair of the Colville Confederated Tribes talks to Allan Bonner about the Sinixt Nation – what it means to be Sinixt and yet be called “extinct”.

“Our wealth is not materialistic, it’s the world around us and having a healthy world around us is what my elders used to tell us. The health of our landscape and of our fish and wildlife and the air we breathe is more important to us than anything else.”



This discussion resonates deeply with the Peskotomuhkati as it likely does for all First Nations. Like the Sinixt, our traditional lands have been divided with an International border between New Brunswick, Canada – Maine, United States. Similarly, our cultural identity is directly tied to these lands that are much more difficult for Nation members to travel and access. This divides our Nation, our families, and makes it extremely difficult to practice our traditional lifestyles.

As the Peskotomuhkati Nation in Canada are seeking official band status, we empathize with all feelings and implications of the Sinixt Nation being declared extinct.

The recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling is a hopeful development for all First Nations.

To read more on Chief Hugh Akagi’s words regarding the Supreme Court of Canada ruling, Click here.