Stop the immediate destruction of Indigenous Burial Sites sign now

c̓əsnaʔəm, (commonly known as the Marpole Midden) located in present day Vancouver in the heart of Traditional unceded Musqueam Territory, is an ancient village and burial site of the Musqueam people, dating back least 4,000 years. In addition to being the sacred resting place of our ancestors, it is recognized as a Canadian National Historic Site, containing priceless artifacts and undisturbed intact burials of Musqueam people. This site was looted extensively by archaeologists between the late 19th through mid-20th centuries (including the removal of over 100 intact remains) for research and storage in museums both locally and internationally. Concurrent to archaeological work, c̓əsnaʔəm has also been impacted by a century of development.

A residential condo development is planned for the site and despite Musqueam’s objections to the destruction of a sacred site the Province issued archaeological “investigation” and “alteration” in December 2011. In January 2012 the intact burial of an ancestor was discovered and Musqueam wrote to the provincial and federal governments, to the City of Vancouver, and to the developer to resolve the matter through agreement and an appeal made to the Premier but no meaningful response was received. In early March news of the burial and continued work on the site prompted Band members to protest at to halt construction and protect their ancestors. This led to a 4 week suspension of work on the site which resulted in no agreement as the Province failed to participate in any meaningful way. The developer then continued with work and the Band continued to try to bring the Province to the table.

Continued work on the site unearthed two partially-uncovered infant burials. The developer has applied for permission to remove these remains. On May 3, 2012, in response to this development, over 100 Musqueam and supporters marched to c̓əsnaʔəm to demonstrate commitment to the appropriate and respectful care of our ancestors and to demand action. Musqueam protestors and supporters continue to maintain a vigil around the clock.

Musqueam has proposed a land swap – at no cost to taxpayers – and the creation of a public heritage park in recognition of Musqueam cultural history. This park would ensure the long-term protection of c̓əsnaʔəm, and provide a space for citizens of Musqueam and Metro Vancouver to proudly welcome visitors through the celebration of our ancient roots.

This petition calls for the cancellation of the archaeological permits issued by the Province and call on the Province to enter into immediate negotiations for a mutually acceptable resolution.

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Information

cusnaumBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
BC Provincial Government

Petition community:
Musqueam First Nation

Tags

ancestors, british columbia, burials, marpole, musqueam, vancouver

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