B.C. First Nations leaders gather to push for heritage site on developer’s land

Financial compensation hoped for ancestral burial site

Chief Dalton Silver of the Sumas First Nation.

First Nations leaders from across B.C. joined with the Sumas First Nation and a developer to urge the province to grant recognition of a Sumas burial site on land owned by a developer.

The cultural significance of the Sumas Mountain location understood to be an ancestral cemetery associated with a devastating 1782 smallpox epidemic caused the City of Abbotsford to reject a commercial development proposed there by Corpus Management Group. But without provincial recognition of the site under the Heritage Conservation Act, there’s no recourse for Corpus to receive compensation for the land that’s now known to be undevelopable.

On Friday, Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver gathered with some of B.C.’s top aboriginal leaders at the site, with all urging provincial action. In attendance were Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Robert Phillips of the First Nations Leadership Council, Ray Harris of the First Nations Summit and Chief David Jimmie of the Stó:lō Nation.

Many of the leaders noted that it was unusual for a dispute about a heritage site to have aboriginal groups and a non-aboriginal commercial developer aligned with the same goal. In previous issues about similar heritage claims elsewhere in the province, it’s been common for the two parties to have opposing aims.

Last November, the city denied Corpus’ $40-million-plus proposal to build a business development for agricultural equipment dealers at the site on Atkinson Road, citing the area’s cultural significance and concerns about providing services to the rural lot.

The Sumas First Nation and Corpus petitioned the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to designate a portion of the land as a Provincial Heritage Site under the Heritage Conservation Act in December of 2014. Since then, they haven’t heard any decision and both parties say they feel ignored. They hope bringing in provincial-level aboriginal voices, and asking the B.C. ombudsperson to intervene, will get them results.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Blue at the Chilliwack SPCA

‘He’s a very laid back, easy-going guy, but still very active,’ says SPCA branch manager

Chilliwack hospice hosts candlelight walk for those who have lost loved ones during pandemic

People invited to ‘celebrate the life of your loved one’ at Illumination Walk

Garage sale happening now at Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association in Chilliwack

Due to COVID-19, the event is one of the association’s only sources of income for the year

UPDATE: Traffic moving again after rollover on Highway 1 in Chilliwack

This is the second collision in four days in the same area of the highway in the ess curves

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Most Read