Friday, September 21, 2007

NANAIMO HISTORIC LAND TRANSFER

Snuneymuxw First Nation, City of Nanaimo
and Nanaimo Port Authority
Celebrate Historic Land Transfer
The Snuneymuxw First Nation, City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo Port Authority today celebrated a historic land transfer agreement in a traditional Hul’qumi’num witnessing ceremony.
Gathering with invited guests on the old Foundry site adjacent to Maffeo Sutton and Swy-a-Lana Lagoon Parks, Snuneymuxw Chief Viola Wyse, Nanaimo Mayor Gary Korpan, and Port Authority Chair Ross Fraser described the events leading up to the transfer of lands on the former Foundry Site to the ownership of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

Chief Viola Wyse, speaking on behalf of Snuneymuxw, said “We thank the Port Authority, the City and all others who helped us reach this important and historic agreement. This agreement honours the Douglas Treaty by which our Nation’s right to retain ownership of existing villages and designated surrounding lands is maintained forever.”

Gary Korpan, Mayor of Nanaimo added “Today is the culmination of years of cooperation among our local agencies showing that we can achieve more for our peoples working together. This historic return of traditional lands to Snuneymuxw First Nation is an example that senior governments should follow.”

Port Board Chair Ross Fraser commented, "This specific action represents an important milestone for Snuneymuxw, and the Port is pleased and proud to have played a key role in helping Snuneymuxw to move forward to a new level of participation in our community.
Taken together, Lot 100 and Lot 50 give Snuneymuxw a site in the heart of downtown, next to popular Swy-a-Lana Lagoon Park." Fraser noted that Swy-a Lana had been developed by the Port as a gift to the community many years ago.
Today’s celebration included the presentation of a ceremonial transfer document by Mayor Gary Korpan and Port Chair Ross Fraser to Chief Viola Wyse.
The three leaders also participated in the planting of a ceremonial cedar tree which will be incorporated into the future development of the Foundry site. Chief Wyse concluded by saying “We know that the Foundry site was a village dating back at least 1500 years, and was settled permanently. Since ancient times, Snuneymuxw people have lived here, raised families here, and were buried here.”

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