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Meeting between Richmond council and Musqueam still in limbo a year later

Two Richmond teachers will present a petition next Monday to city council asking to move forward with reconciliation.
Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, Coun. Howard Grant, Jason Woolman
From left to right: Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow, archives and research manager Jason Woolman and Coun. Howard Grant.

Richmond city council and the Musqueam Indian Band haven't held any meetings despite a request from the Indigenous group 17 months ago. 

Musqueam Coun. Howard Grant asked Richmond city council in June 2021 to set up semi-annual meetings between the two governments.

Grant said these meetings could be used to discuss “issues of common concern” and to “move forward in a more friendly way.”

A date was set for a meeting, but this was postponed by the Musqueam Indian Band and is currently being rescheduled, according to the city.

Grant spoke to council a year and a half ago about about the need to implement the municipally relevant sections of the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

At that meeting, after Grant's presentation, Coun. Bill McNulty put forward a motion to have city staff investigate “recognition of Indigenous people and land,” which was supported by council unanimously.

He added he’d like to see how actions that are “unique to Richmond” could be undertaken to recognize Indigenous people.

At the meeting a year and a half ago, Grant also spoke of the need for awareness and education for both city council and city staff on the history, culture and people “of this land.”

This presentation from Grant, as well as from Richmond resident Chaslynn Gillanders of the Nisga’a Nation, came on the heels of the discovery of possible unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Next Monday at city council, two teachers from Spul’u’kwuks elementary school plan to present a petition they started asking Richmond city council to create a Truth and Reconciliation policy.

Coun. Michael Wolfe has also put an item on the agenda for Monday's committee meeting asking to create a Truth and Reconciliation policy.

According to city spokesperson Clay Adams, both the issues of the semi-annual meetings and the land acknowledgement could possibly part of the discussion at Monday’s committee meeting where the two teachers will be presenting their petition.

As for doing a land acknowledgement, Mayor Malcolm Brodie has told the Richmond News in the past it's not possible to do one because of an on-going lawsuit with the Cowichan First Nations and other Indigenous groups over a 780-acre parcel of land near Triangle Beach.