Green Party of Vancouver celebrates passing of important step towards reconciliation at Park Board

VANCOUVER, BC - The Green Party of Vancouver is celebrating the passing of a motion last night by Green Commissioner and Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon for the Park Board to explore opportunities with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations for the co-management of parklands within their own respective territories that are currently under Park Board jurisdiction. The motion directs Park Board staff to first work with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations to define what co-management means in the context of Vancouver parklands and once that definition is agreed upon to then develop a plan for co-management.

“Reconciliation is more than just words,” says Commissioner Mackinnon. “This motion seeks to move closer to reconciliation with past decisions that impact our city today. Many of our parks and beaches are on land that has been integral to the First Peoples of this area for millennia. Villages, camps, food gathering sites, and sacred burial sites are situated on the land we manage and have jurisdiction over. This motion seeks to recognize this fact.”

“By acknowledging the land, and by recognizing that colonial ways of doing things are not the only ways of doing things; by seeking help from the Indigenous people of this land and working with them, we can have better parks in Vancouver. We can have parks that recognize the natural history and the human history, and prepare our public spaces for a future where all are welcome and that will last millennia to come,” said Commissioner Mackinnon in his closing remarks when introducing the motion.

The Truth and Reconciliation Report of Canada includes within Calls to Action: “We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.” (TRC #47)

“I am heartened to be able to support the powerful work of Commissioner Mackinnon on this,” says fellow Green Commissioner Camil Dumont. “The road to reconciliation is long and difficult, and I am glad to have been able to play a role moving this forward within our jurisdiction on the Park Board.”

In 2018, Commissioner Mackinnon led efforts to begin a colonial audit to document long-term practices and look at the way colonialism is woven into the fabric of park board operations. The Park Board also previously established the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations to develop a long-term comprehensive plan for Stanley Park.




Stuart Mackinnon: Reconciliation and truth-telling—acknowledging our colonial past, April 17, 2018