Snuneymuxw currently has four small reserves on the shores of Nanaimo Harbour and Nanaimo River and two tiny reserves at Gabriola Island. Our total reserve land base is 266 hectares, which per capita is the smallest reserve land base in British Columbia. By way of comparison and to put this in perspective, the Osoyoos First Nation has, on a per capita basis, a land base 165 times larger than Snuneymuxw.
Of these six reserves only Reserve No. 1, (22.4 hectares) is fully serviced and inhabitable. Homes on reserves No. 2, 3 and 4, are not fully serviced or fully habitable. For example we have to truck water to the Reserve No. 2 because wells have become contaminated and significant parts of Reserve No. 3 are within the floodplain of the Nanaimo River and flood every year.
The lack of a Snuneymuxw land base is a result of the violations of Treaty promises enshrined in the Treaty of 1854, and has created severe residential, economic, social, and community pressures. Currently, approximately two-thirds of our growing population lives away from home because of this lack of land base and inability to live and earn a livelihood on such small reserves.