W̱SÁNEĆ Lands Trust Society Becomes Charity with Ecological Gift Status, Launches Donation Page

It is now easier for land to be returned to W̱SÁNEĆ and for donations to be made to support W̱SÁNEĆ-led restoration and care of that land. 

The W̱SÁNEĆ Land Trusts Society (WLTS) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 2021 as a modern vehicle to return 9.67-acre SISȻENEM (Halibut Island) to W̱SÁNEĆ. It has recently received Charitable Status and is now accepting further donations of both land and money. 

The W̱SÁNEĆ have had a sacred obligation to care for the land and waters since the beginning of time. These obligations were given to W̱SÁNEĆ by XÁLS (the creator) and were fundamentally recognized through the creation of the 1852 Douglas Treaties. 

Private donations of land are particularly important to W̱SÁNEĆ because high rates of private land ownership within our territory means there is very little land available for return through reconciliation processes with the Crown. Establishing a sustainable land base for W̱SÁNEĆ people will largely depend on the willingness of private landowners and financial donors. The WLTS furthers this goal by accepting donations of land to W̱SÁNEĆ, restoring land harmed by colonization to ecological balance, and accepting monetary donations to facilitate that work.

Recently, the WLTS has become an approved recipient of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Ecological Gift Program (EGP), which offers significant tax benefits to landowners who donate land to the WLTS. This is one of several initiatives designed to help the Society to achieve its goal of returning land for cultural, environmental, and economic benefits to future generations of W̱SÁNEĆ, regardless of their band affiliation.

In addition to obtaining EGP status, the WLTS has recently launched a web page at www.supportlandback.com which offers an easy place for settlers, businesses, and others interested in supporting the WLTS mission to provide one-time or ongoing donations, both financial and land-based.

The WLTS continues to innovate by being both the first Indigenous organization to receive land back via a land trust as with SISȻENEM as well as the first Indigenous organization to obtain (EGP) status. 

For more information about the WLTS, including History and FAQ’s please visit www.supportlandback.com 

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