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.

 

Just Posted

PHOTO: Add flavour to your weekend with the Chilliwack Garlic Festival

The annual garlicky event runs Saturday and Sunday at Fantasy Farms

Fleeing helicopter that landed in Chilliwack part of major cross-border drug bust: documents

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vedder Rotary trail network in Chilliwack will be closed for five days on the south side

The upgrade will take until Friday so trail users asked to take alternate routes

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

UPDATE: RCMP confirm body of missing Chilliwack senior found

Ethel ‘Grace’ Baranyk had severe dementia

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Most Read