Nuxalk Nation

Chief & Council Governance

Prior to colonization, Indigenous peoples governed themselves according to structures and processes unique to their respective cultures. The Chief and Council system of governance was imposed on First Nations in 1876 through the Indian Act; this was done to control and streamline the governance of local Indigenous populations.

European style elections were first introduced into the Act on June 22, 1869, and the intention of the Canadian government was to replace the traditional Indigenous systems with one that closely mirrored their own. Under the Indian Act individuals are elected by the community but are accountable to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

The Nuxalk Nation elected Chief and Council system does not reflect the ancestral governance system that existed in Nuxalkulmc for thousands of years before contact. For more information on the revival and implementation of ancestral governance in Nuxalk territory, please click here .

On June 28, 2019, the elected Chief and Council signed a Declaration of Understanding with Nuxalk Stataltmc (ancestral leadership) that outlines the path that the leadership intends to take moving forward and lays a foundation for future decision-making processes. This was a historic step in furthering ancestral governance in Nuxalk territory.

The elected Chief and Council of the Nuxalk Nation operates under the Indian Act, receiving the bulk of its funding for its members from Indigenous Services Canada, and holds elections every two years. The current elected Chief and Council was elected on May 26, 2021. The next election is slated for 2023.
Rhonda Morton
Primary Portfolio: Administration
Secondary Portfolio: Emergency Management
James Mack Sr.
Primary Portfolio: Reconciliation
Secondary Portfolio: Socioeconomic Development
Iris Siwallace
Primary Portfolio: Health and Wellness
Secondary Portfolio: 
Carrigan Tallio
Primary Portfolio: Housing
Secondary Portfolio: Health and Wellness
Spuxta Nelson
Primary Portfolio: Culture
Secondary Portfolio: Housing
Terry Webber
Primary Portfolio: Education
Secondary Portfolio: Asset Management
Crystal Tallio
Primary Portfolio: Socioeconomic Deveopment
Secondary Portfolio: Stewardship
Marshall Hans Jr.
Primary Portfolio: Clean Energy
Secondary Portfolio:
Blair Mack
Primary Portfolio: Stewardship
Secondary Portfolio: Clean Energy
Wilma Parr
Primary Portfolio: Emergency Management
Secondary Portfolio: Administration
Russell Siwallace
Primary Portfolio: Restorative and Corrective Justice
Secondary Portfolio:
Jamie Schooner
Primary Portfolio: Asset Management
Secondary Portfolio: Restorative and Corrective Justice
Elected Chief

Ancestral Governance

We Nuxalkmc have had our own law since we descended from the eyelashes of the sun from the house of Alhkw’ntam. Our law includes our sliix, our stl’cw, and our sxayaxw. Put together, these summarize our roles and responsibilities as individuals and community members. Our ancestors used their teachings to create these laws and to build a complex, resilient, and effective society. They documented our knowledge system so that future generations would continue to learn and practise Nuxalk ways of being in the world.   

As Nuxalkmc, we are responsible for understanding our law as our ancestors intended. It is important that we continue to use our governance system as our ancestors used it and that we continue to use our law so that it can evolve as our society evolves. 

Nuxalk Ancestral Governance refers to the roles and responsibilities that uphold the Nuxalk Nation, and that tether Nuxalkmc to our territories. Nunuts’xlhuusnm is the term for the Nuxalk system of governance, which is understood through four sliix (treasures), the foundations or pillars of Nuxalk law. These pillars, and the governance role they play, are understood in the following way:  

  • Smayusta: What’s its origin, where does Nuxalk law originate from
  • Klhalhta: What’s its practice, where does Nuxalk law gather its strength from
  • Tcamatlhh: What’s its place, how is Nuxalk law validated and reinforced
  • Kw’alhtnta: How does this help our community, what does this mean for the Nuxalk Nation today? 

In addition to the sliix are the ceremonies, sxayaaxa (protocols), stl’cw (ethics), responsibilities, ksnmsta (land stewardship), relations, and ancestry that are the foundations of our governance system. Together, these create the system we understand as Nuxalk Ancestral Governance.