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

Finding Success: Low expectations, literacy struggles and the fight to fix them

Racism of low expectations is “probably one of the most significant barriers” for Indigenous youth

Delta police answer readers’ questions at Coffee with a Cop event

The North Delta Reporter sat down with DPD officers to get answers to questions submitted by you

Break-in at White Rock pet-supply store

Critters & Friends targeted overnight Tuesday

VIDEO: Pipeline opponents leave jars of water from ‘threatened’ coastlines outside Surrey MP’s office

More than 30 people rallied against Kinder Morgan’s project outside MP Ken Hardie’s locked constituency office Friday

Bookkeeper charged with fraud after allegedly pocketing $200K, Surrey police say

RCMP say they’re not naming former employee in order to protect identity of victim company

VIDEO: Celebrating cute Surrey puppies on National Puppy Day

From cute, to tough, to silly, Surrey’s puppies don’t dissapoint

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

B.C. officials failed to tell Kiwis Fraser Health CEO had been fired in 2014

New Zealand spending scandal exposes Dr. Nigel Murray 2014 exit from B.C. job

PHOTOS: Students exhibit stunning paper couture dresses

22 paper made gowns will be on display at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre until March 27

Most Read