Snuneymuxw governance is rooted in our Snawayalth (teachings) and worldview, which emphasize our core values of mutual respect and recognition, the interconnection of all things in creation, and our stewardship and jurisdiction over our lands and resources. The longhouse, lands, language, and laws are all active expressions of these core values that play an essential role in our governance. It is through our model of governance that Snuneymuxw has always upheld its self-determination and Territorial sovereignty.
The primary purpose of our government is protecting and safeguarding our citizens and their rights, our lands and waters, enhancing quality of life, and creating opportunities to unleash social and economic potential. In all decisions we seek to advance Snuneymuxw individuals and Nation as a whole.
A key principle of our decision-making is unity. All of our voices have a place in the decisions that must be made, and we are constantly vigilant in nurturing and advancing a unity of purpose. Our Snawayalth directs us to be respectful in our consultation and to listen to each voice and build towards a decision based on group consensus.
In our Treaty of 1854, the British Crown recognized Snuneymuxw self-determination and Aboriginal Title, as well as our way of life and culture. Snuneymuxw village sites throughout our Territory, were recognized and to be protected through that Treaty.
The laws, policies and actions of the Crown has resulted in significant and unjust imposition and interference with our governance. Treaty promises have been broken. The Indian Act imposed upon us a foreign system of governance and outlawed key elements of our governance structure.
Today, Snuneymuxw is engaged in building our system of governance based on continuity with our enduring values and principles of governance, and overcoming the scourge of oppressive Crown laws and policies. As an expression of those enduring values, and our self-determination and sovereignty, in recent years Snuneymuxw has moved to elections of Chief and Council based on our own custom code of laws. Chief and Council are elected into a four-year term position, with half of the Council positions staggered with elections every two years.