Parks Canada moving past colonial narratives to paint larger picture of nation’s history

Parks Canada moving past colonial narratives to paint larger picture of nation’s history

Fort Langley National Historic Site will not hold Brigade Days due to COVID-19 restrictions

To protect the safety of visitors and Parks Canada team members during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fort Langley National Historic Site (FLNHS) will not be holding its annual Brigade Days event over the BC Day Weekend in August.

Fort staff said they look forward to holding special events again when it is safe to do so.

The annual celebration typically includes specific demonstrations such as blacksmithing, while paddlers come ashore in dozens of York boat replicas to re-enact the fur brigades along the Fraser River.

FLNHS will continue to be open over the long weekend and visitors are welcome to enjoy the grounds of the Fort, enter into some of the historic buildings, and learn from costumed interpreters stationed at safely distanced locations.

While historical reenactments are on hold for the time being, a moment of reflection has presented itself for Parks Canada as colonial history has come increasingly under scrutiny and monuments commemorating historical figures have been vandalized across the United States, England, and Canada.

A large statue of James Douglas stands at the entrance of Langley’s Parks Canada attraction – the very place Douglas declared B.C. a Crown Colony.

November 19 is in fact declared Douglas Day, a time when the fort celebrates everything related to proclamation.

Kate Humble, National Historic Sites Manager for Coastal BC, told the Langley Advance Times Parks Canada is not aware of controversy around the statue of James Douglas at Fort Langley National Historic Site.

“James Douglas is a complex historical figure and while the statue reflects the period in time and the context in which it was designed and installed, interpretation of figures commemorated this way can and must evolve over time,” Humble said.

Born in 1803 in what was then British Guyana, Douglas was born to a Scottish merchant and a Creole woman who was of African and European background.

Douglas would find his way to Canada where was built a Hudson’s Bay Company outpost on Vancouver Island. He would be instrumental in the formation of the province – becoming the first Governor of the Colony of British Columbia.

Often referred to as the “Father of BC,” some of Douglas’s actions have been celebrated, such as his interracial relationship with Métis woman Amelia Connolly, while his autocratic governing methods and treatment of other Indigenous people have been called into question.

Humble explained that Parks Canada’s role as national storyteller comes with an obligation to provide a comprehensive overview of Canada’s history, recognizing that much of the country’s history has been told through a colonial lens.

“At Fort Langley National Historic Site, and Parks Canada places across the country, the agency is working to share more diverse and inclusive stories,” she assured.

READ MORE: Interpreters and historic building access offered again at Fort Langley National Historic Site

In 2019, Parks Canada collaboratively developed a large Metis exhibit on the upper floor of the Big House, highlighting the essential role Metis people have played in the Canadian fur trade and settlement of BC.

They also collaborated with the Canadian Guyanese Cultural Association of BC to highlight the multicultural aspect of James Douglas’ life.

“When presenting James Douglas, the agency no longer uses language such as ‘Father of BC’, understanding that what we call British Columbia today was shaped by many different people from Indigenous communities and leaders, to entrepreneurs, to Chinese gold miners, to Hawaiian labourers, and people searching for a better life, to name just a few,” Humble noted.

Parks Canada also added that they works with the Kwantlen First Nation to develop visitor programming related to Indigenous history.

For more information on Fort Langley National Historic Site, people can visit www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/langley/index?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=fortlangley.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Fort Langleyhistory

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley Township Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)
Housing, RCMP, Fort roads all discussed at Langley Township budget meeting

A Monday meeting touched on priorities for this year and beyond

Table for sale took a bit more work than first thought. (Mariana Aramburu/Special to The Star)
Ryan’s Regards: Clearing the clutter

Most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by this point in the year

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Cloverdale man said public pressure only convinces church goers they are right

Engageing churches in discussions on how to reduce transmission would be more effective than bans

When the pandemic forced the shut down of playgrounds in Langley this past Spring it sparked creativity for these Langley grandparents Herb and Cherri Kwan, who found themselves picking up a paint brush to help keep the local kids occupied. (Bernadette Amiscaray/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Pandemic park closures spark artistic rock creations for retired Langley grandparents

Herb and Cherri Kwan started hiding painted rocks in Routley Park when playground closed

Shortreed Community Elementary. (Langley School District/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Parent Advisory Council raises concerns over Langley school district power outage response

Fifteen teachers at Shortreed Community School in Aldergrove staged a sit-in strike last Wednesday

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read