COAST SALISH TERRITORY, VANCOUVER, BC, Jan. 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Musqueam First Nation is pleased to be meeting with the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources, to discuss aquatic habitat restoration, and the concept of creating a First Nations focused Stewardship Centre for the region. Musqueam is part of the Coast Salish indigenous peoples that have lived in the now Vancouver region since time immemorial. As long-time residents and stewards of the waters and lands of the lower Fraser River, Musqueam is seeking innovative approaches to managing the development of the Pacific gateway.
Chief Wayne Sparrow commented, "We are interested in working with partners that value our Coast Salish principles of caring for the environment. Development in our territory and in shared territory can no longer be allowed to diminish our aquatic resources." He added, "Musqueam has a vision of restoring the estuary for improving aquatic habitat." Musqueam is coordinating with Major Projects Management Office West (MPMOW) to ensure that Musqueam focused interests are being incorporated to multi-billion dollar projects that are affecting Musqueam. The Government of Canada contribution will further some of Musqueam's priorities, and begin to build a better relationship with Canada.
"We are not against development. Most of our territory is highly urbanized, yet we are rooted in our teachings of stewardship of our resources and our culture," said Chief Sparrow. He noted, "The concept of the Pacific Centre of Marine and Land Stewardship seeks to demonstrate how traditional knowledge and expertise can be shared to enhance management and decision-making. We are here to stay. If you want to do business in our waters and lands, then we must be part of the solution to ensure energy projects do not diminish or destroy the environment that we all rely on."
"Today's announcement demonstrates our government's commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal communities through a broad range of initiatives to protect the environment and ensure the responsible development of our natural resources," said Minister Rickford.
The intent of the Centre is to take the best of traditional knowledge and expertise, combine it with the world's best ecological and environmental practices, and put it into action. Musqueam is seeking partners to turn the region into a global leader in urban and marine sustainability by understanding the cumulative effects of proposed development and mitigating them to ensure development respects current and future generations.
The Musqueam, a proud and unified people, will as a self-governing nation, work together to ensure enhanced quality of life for all generations of our people to develop a sustainable, self-reliant, vibrant community that is built upon the historical and traditional values of our community. Archaeological studies have recorded evidence of Musqueam's existence, particularly the Marpole midden - located at the mouth of the North Arm of the Fraser River, in excess of 4,000 years and at the Musqueam reserve in excess of 3,500 years.
SOURCE Musqueam Indian Band
For further information: Councillor Wendy Grant John. Phone: (778) 987-2953