Advocacy, education and outreach in support of Vancouver's public spaces

In the past few years, the Park Board has taken steps to acknowledge First Nations cultures and the impacts of colonization on local Indigenous communities. Would you continue this work? If yes, how?

Cliff Relph (Independent): “I believe the 11-part program that is being utilized right now is a huge step forward. There has been work on reconciliation, including a truth telling phase. I would like to continue this, and as we continue with it get feedback from Indigenous communities on how well we are progressing. This is a serious, deep issue, and we need to continue to do it, that is respectful to Indigenous people, and keeps Indigenous people involved in the process.”

Gwen Giesbrecht (COPE): “Yes. How? Acknowledging first of all that we have been remiss in not giving the respect, and in not understanding how important the shaping of what community is, when seen through the cultural lens of Indigenous people. Next step, reach out, be educated, respect and embrace what we learn, embed it everywhere in the public realm.”

Rick Hurlbut (Pro Vancouver): “Yes, but it’s not my place to say how. It’s because Europeans thought they knew best that so much tragedy has occurred. Although my journey is different, as a gay man I understand what it means to be disenfranchised, and that nobody from outside my community has the right to decide how I should behave, what I should believe, or to cast a moral judgement on me. With First Nations, I will listen and act in a manner which respect both them and the larger society in which we now reside.”

Dave Demers (Green Party): “Yes, most definitely. As our platform stipulates: we will fulfill Park Board commitment to a complete audit of its colonial roots and progressing towards reconciliation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people.”

Stuart Mackinnon (Green Party): “Yes. Reconciliation is more than just words. The Vancouver park board has undertaken real efforts to work with local First Nations to work toward reconciliation through truth-telling. From truth-telling can come healing. Creating opportunities for dialogue with both the land-based First Nations and the urban indigenous people is the first step. Listening and working in partnership will lead to better understanding and is the path to true reconciliation.”

Mathew Kagis (Work Less Party): “Yes, this is important work & I applaud the steps already taken by the current board. I would like to see Park Board initiate a reclamation project in our parks. By working in liaison with local First Nations, replant areas of certain parks with food and medicine plants that FN’s used to harvest. Give FN people aces to continue traditional harvesting and stewardship of these areas. In the longer term, humbly ask if said First Nations would be willing to engage in educational programs, teaching non first nations about these plants, what they’re used for and what their cultural significance is.”

John Coupar (NPA): “Yes, I was Chair of the Park Board when we had our first historic Government to Government meetings. I have and continue to support our ongoing work on reconciliation with our first peoples.”

Ann-Marie Copping (NPA): “Yes, we should be celebrating our First Nations within our parks and public spaces, and continue to work with our First Nations to lead the process while balancing the history of Vancouver overall.”

Casey Crawford (NPA): “Yes, I have supported the initiatives put in place over the past four years and will continue to work to see them implemented. My hope is that our partners in the First Nations will guide this process in their own time and allow us to tell their story in the parks by creating permanent displays that feature this history.”

Leo Heba (YES Vancouver): “Yes, I would go forth with the Colonial Audit and wait for their findings. Whatever the result, open dialogue is needed with our First Nations peoples on how to proceed with reconciliation and what they would be interested in doing with the Park Board.”

Chris Fuoco (Vancouver First): “Yes I would continue these efforts and expand them to include creating opportunities for First nations to build their own facilities, or be part of existing in their own way, to ask First nations to share their Culture(s) with everyone, to seek their sacred and ancestral burial grounds and perhaps look to support additional opportunities with our First nations People.”

Tricia Barker (NPA): “I support the on-going reconciliation with our First Nations. Listening, understanding and then acting.”

Gregory Edgelow (Pro Vancouver):

  • “The City of Vancouver was founded on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and those Nations have endured decades of unjust treatment at the hands of the colonizers.
  • Seeking truth as a foundation for reconciliation with each of the three Nations, commitment to the hard work of truth telling; the acknowledgment that First Nations are integral rights holders in the future of public parks and lands; the important process of reconciliation with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations; and working towards a relationship built on equality and reciprocity needs to continue.
  • Parks Board needs to continue to partner with First Nations in preserving spiritually and archeologically significant places, and stewarding our park ecosystems for generations to come.
  • Actions speak louder than words and talk is often followed up with idleness.
  • Listening, learning, collaborating and working in respectful cooperation
  • Consideration should be taken to hire First Nations subject matter experts from the three Coast Salish Nations to be part of the process of managing historical and ancestral sites, educating the public and cataloging
  • First Nations need to be at the table as equal partners and we must be mindful that we are guests on First Nations land.”

Pall Beelsa (NPA): “Yes, I would use examples from other communities, including my own South Asian community, to better understand how historical wrongs have been reconciled. We would need to ensure that we listen to First Nations communities to better understand what they want to see in the Reconciliation process.”

Camil Dumont (Green Party): “Absolutely. I believe we need to prioritize the de-colonization narrative. We need community based research and outreach to inform what the best and most effective steps are in reconciliation and healing. It took a long time for us to get to where we are and it will take a long time to get to a place of true cultural health. That’s ok, so long as we are moving in the right direction. Education, listening, sharing stories of our colonial past and present must be a priority for indigenous and non-indigenous alike. The more we can understand, share and learn the better we will be. The PB has taken good steps of late on this issue. I would love to have the chance to be involved in the further development and implementation of what comes next.”

Ray Chang (Coalition Vancouver): “Parks are for everyone’s use and our goal is to decrease barriers and increase access to our parks for the general public. This is why we are aiming to eliminate paid parking and to lower facility fees. Parks and Community Centres are not to be politicized or used to favour one group in society over another.”

Winnie Siu (Coalition Vancouver): “Parks are for everyone’s use and our goal is to decrease barriers and increase access to our parks for the general public. This is why we are aiming to eliminate paid parking and to lower facility fees. Parks and Community Centres are not to be politicized or used to favour one group in society over another.” [Duplicates response from Ray En-Jui Chang]



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