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

Driving offence incurs warning of jail time in Princeton court

Judge takes dim view of accused’s record

Are ambassador programs a thing of the past?

Make no mistake about it. It’s a shame that the Princeton Ambassador… Continue reading

South Okanagan community taking action on fire prevention

Community working to prevent a repeat of last summer’s wildfire

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Court relies on Facebook to track down accused

Laughter erupted in Princeton court last Thursday when a man offered to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Kamloops RCMP respond to report of dead body floating in Thompson River

Body has not been located, searches to continue as river conditions improve

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

VIDEO: 33 Oliver-area homes evacuated due to flooding

Flooding in the Sportsman Bowl area has swelled drastically over course of one week

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read