Motion to recognize Vancouver on 'unceded' territory
The Vision Vancouver-dominated council are set to pass a motion saying the city sits on 'unceded' land belonging to First Nations. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)
Vancouver City Council could formally recognize the city as sitting on “unceded land” belonging to First Nations in the area and are poised to pass a motion to that effect Wednesday.
The motion aims to bring in protocols used by area First Nations for official functions given they never officially gave up their land.
“The modern city of Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and that these territories were never ceded through treaty, war or surrender,” reads the motion.
Coun. Andrea Reimer of Vision Vancouver introduced the motion and said she isn’t concerned about possible legal ramifications of declaring the city is on unceded territory because Vancouver is not involved in treaty negotiations and has no such authority over land.
But she said that though the city has no authority, it does deal with problems arising from the same issues.
“We end up being on the front line of the lack of resolution of those issues,” Reimer said.
Last June, Mayor Gregor Robertson declared a year of reconciliation as part of an effort to “heal from the past and build new relationships” between Aboriginal peoples and Vancouverites, and the motion said this is part of that process.
Reimer isn’t concerned critics may accuse the Vision Vancouver-dominated council of using the past to pander to Aboriginal groups, much like the B.C. Liberals underwent during the so-called “quick wins” scandal.
“I don’t view the process of reconciling past injustice and the traumas caused by that injustice as pandering,” she said. “It’s a necessary process.”
The provincial ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation would not comment on the motion.