Premier Christy Clark chats with Chief Roger William

Aboriginal artifacts project aims for reconciliation

Premier Christy Clark offers economic development, restores Bella Coola ferry service, some leaders not impressed

The B.C. government is providing $2 million to the Royal B.C. Museum to continue its aboriginal artifact recovery project, as part of its reconciliation efforts with more than 200 communities.

Premier Christy Clark made the announcement at the B.C. cabinet’s third annual meeting with aboriginal leaders around the province, known as the “All Chiefs,” held this week in Vancouver.

Ceremonial objects have been returned to the Huu-ay-aht Nation near Bamfield, Heiltsuk Nation at Bella Bella and the Tla’amin Nation near Powell River.

An animal-shaped stone club and other objects were returned to Tla’amin from the museum last week, under the terms of the self-government treaty that took effect in April. Museum curator Jack Lohman is heading the project to locate and return objects and human remains from collections and museums around the world.

“We want to use every diplomatic effort that we can through my office,” Clark said. “We want to use Dr. Lohman’s incredible knowledge of international law and repatriation of objects to make sure that we do it right, and we do it quickly.”

The All Chiefs meeting was set up in 2014, in the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada decision to recognize aboriginal title of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to the Nemiah Valley. Clark delivered a formal apology in the legislature in October 2014 for the hanging of six Tsilhqot’in war chiefs in 1864, after 14 colonial roadbuilders were killed in what became known as the Chilcotin War or the Bute Inlet massacre.

Clark also announced the restoration of direct ferry service from Vancouver Island to Bella Coola, a $2.5 million contribution to the B.C. Assembly of First Nations for regional economic development plans and $250,000 to support the Moose Hide Campaign to protect aboriginal women and girls from violence.

Clark and Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad faced criticism. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs followed Rustad’s speech with his own, panning the Clark government’s efforts and saying aboriginal people were treated better by former premier Gordon Campbell.

The UBCIC was formed in 1969 to oppose assimilation of aboriginal communities in Canada, proposed by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau then-Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chrétien. As its leader, Phillip has become a constant critic of both the federal and provincial governments, leading protests against energy projects and the Site C dam.

Judith Sayers, a law professor at UBC and former chief of the Hupacasath First Nation at Port Alberni, posted a blog dismissing Clark’s announcements as “smokescreens” to obscure the acknowledgement of aboriginal title to the majority of B.C. where no treaties have been signed.

“The bigger issue of disturbing burial sites for development, either on Crown lands or private lands that still have aboriginal title on them, remains unresolved,” Sayers wrote.

 

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read