Letters – Honour first people

Re: City Watchdog, City's celebration has bloody, tragic past, May 31-June 6

Real history of this land

Re: City Watchdog, City’s celebration has bloody, tragic past, May 31-June 6

Thanks for sharing a more truthful account of history than others have printed in previous years. Yes, genocide was attempted, and it failed. But there’s still a lot of work to be done to educate Canadians about the real history of this land.

Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel, via Facebook

 

Celebrate resilience

I have one critical comment. You say that “Victoria’s settlers made it illegal for indigenous peoples to live on their land, systematically destroyed their culture and sought to control every aspect of their lives.” As an Aboriginal woman it makes me feel some calm knowing that the genocidal techniques used in colonization are being brought to the forefront when critically looking at what the history of our nation, and in particular this area has been. I believe it is necessary though to speak to the resilience of indigenous people and in reference to this article, the Lekwungen people of this area. It is not true that the colonizers “destroyed their culture” Coast Salish culture is alive and strong, getting stronger and stronger. I think this is important to note and celebrate.

Haras Deuhr,via Facebook

 

Honour first people

Puzzled to read in Simon Nattrass’ column that genocide of the Lekwungen peoples and extermination of their culture and traditions are the basis of our city’s history. I can assure Mr. Nattrass that the Esquimalt and Songhees people are flourishing and that their culture and art is vibrant and continually emergent. Mr. Nattrass consulted Mark Pinkoski of the Free Knowledge Project who supplied a take on the history of the Lekwungen and the founding of Victoria at odds with rigorous historical research. James Yates was a member of the first Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island in 1856. Victoria became a city (complete with mayor and council) in 1862, two years after Yates had returned to Scotland to live.

When Fort Victoria was established, the Lekwungen moved from village locations in Esquimalt Harbour and Cadboro Bay and established a village, which according to the Douglas Treaty of 1850, was to be theirs forever. In 1910, by passing a special act of the federal parliament, the federal and provincial governments brokered a deal that was acceptable to the Lekwungen.

Please honour our amazing indigenous people and their resilience, they are an accomplished maritime people and tough negotiators.

The terrible smallpox epidemics of 1785 and 1862 were grievous blows. Had they been immune to contagious diseases like measles, smallpox and influenza, they may have remained the most dominant group in population and influence in this region.

Joanne Murray,Victoria

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