March 15, 2012 Update!
Discussions have led to a 3-week moratorium on digging while more dialogue continues. Thank you for all of you who spread the word to your people, in social media, and in the email link below to politicians. Your integrity has been a shining example of what motivated people can accomplish. All that activity has helped create the will to seek a resolution and avoid a completely avoidable catastrophe in an era where expansive, true dialogue is critically lacking. Keep watching the Facebook event page for more updates: STOP the destruction of the village and midden site of c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole).
What kind of racist government issues a permit for a condo developer to bulldoze a Musqueum burial site? BC’s government.
I visited c̓əsnaʔəm, the 1338 SW Marine Drive site this morning and had a chance to talk with some of the demonstrators. I learned a number of important points in this issue, below. But first, here are some links to previous coverage of this issue.
- STOP the destruction of the village and midden site of c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole)
- Musqueam Block Destruction of Ancient Burial Site
- Project on burial site sparks protest
- Protesters block Vancouver building project
- Musqueam First Nation members protest over Marpole development
Here’s what I learned this morning during my visit to the site:
- Musqueam Midden has been recognized as a Canadian Heritage Site since 1933.
- There is rich local historical heritage at c̓əsnaʔəm: Great Fraser Midden, 1908
- The City of Vancouver has been protecting the site since 1908 and has so far not issued a building permit to the developer, but they will have to: “We’re required to issue it if they meet the criteria and one of those criteria is not the archaeological issues because that’s not within our jurisdiction,” said Vancouver City Manager Penny Ballem. So the province is responsible for allowing development on the site.
So what can you do?
- Support the peaceful protest/demonstration/occupation by going down and joining them.
- You can also use the universal sign of solidarity by ordering pizza to be delivered there. Blankets, rain gear and coffee shop gift cards would help too, as the demonstration is a 24 hour a day event.
- You can email the various people asking for their political support for the Musqueam and for the provincial government to not desecrate a burial ground because honestly, would you want someone to build a condo on top of your Nana’s grave? You can use this link to email the following people [use this link if you’re on a Mac], with a CC to the Musqueam band:
- the Vancouver Mayor and council,
- the premier,
- the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation,
- the leader of the opposition,
- the aboriginal affairs critic,
- both independent MLAs,
- the Vancouver-Langara MLA,
- as well a host of federal politicians: the prime minister,
- the leader of the opposition,
- leader of the federal Liberals,
- the aboriginal affairs minister,
- the NDP and Liberal aboriginal affairs critics,
- and the MP for Vancouver South.
You can tell them all the reasons you want to protect the burial site, including things like these:
- The Musqueam burial site is important to you, important to Canada since 1933 and to Vancouver since 1908.
- Canada’s relationship with the First Nations needs to be built on respect, not exploitation.
- The BC government is responsible for protecting national heritage sites.
- We should be able to expect respect and leadership from elected officials and meaningful contributions to improving relations between Canada, BC, Vancouver and the First Nations.
- Link to the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/events/185622338219534/