Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek proposed opening council meetings with a statement of reconciliation that acknowledged they are being held on unceded First Nations land. Council agreed. (Miranda Fatur/Langley Advance Times file photo)

Langley City to open meetings with statement about ‘unceded’ First Nations territory

Policy recognizes traditional territories of Kwantlen, Matsqui, Katzie and Semiahmoo

Future Langley City Council meetings will begin with a statement that recognizes they are taking place on traditional First Nations territory.

Whoever chairs the meeting will start by with a statement that the City “acknowledges the unceded territories of Kwantlen, Matsqui, Katzie and Semiahmoo First Nations.”

At the Monday night (Sept. 16) meeting of Langley City council, Mayor Val van den Broek won unanimous approval for her proposal, which she described as “essential” to the process of reconciliation with First Nations people in a report to council.

“The process of reconciliation has involved creating space for survivors of colonization to speak the truth about the harms done to themselves, their families and their nations; for the broader community to acknowledge those harms; and for us to find a new pathway forward together,” the mayor’s report said.

Council voted unanimously to approve the change, but not without a few reservations expressed by councillors Gayle Martin and Rudy Storteboom, who wanted the change delayed to allow a closer look.

Martin wanted to know how common such statements are.

“I think we should find out how many councils do this,” Martin said, stressing that she was not opposed to the idea, but wanted staff to investigate further.

Coun. Paul Albrecht didn’t think that was necessary.

“We don’t need to know what other jurisdictions do,” Albrecht observed, adding such statements are made by other levels of government like the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“I think we should just move forward with this,” Albrecht said.

Coun. Nathan Pachal was also against a staff review

“That’s, in my mind, resources we could spend in a different way,” Pachal said.

Coun. Rudy Storteboom wanted to “avoid presuming” the language of the statement would be satisfactory to First Nations people.

“It’s long overdue. It’s important to get it right,” Storteboom said.

“The words that we used in the past are no longer appropriate and they are deemed unseemly by some.”

Mayor van de Broek said there was consultation with First Nations about the wording, as well as research by staff.

Coun. Rosemary Wallace, a former school trustee, noted a similar statement is routinely used in the Langley school district.

“They do it at every school board meeting,” Wallace said.

As approved, the resolution also directs City staff to invite representatives from the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations to work with the mayor to develop “appropriate protocols” for the City to use in conducting City business “that respect the traditions of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations. “

At Con. Pachal’s suggestion, the language was amended to include members of council in the process.

READ MORE: Acknowledging the past

READ ALSO: Fort Langley walk to residential school commemorates Truth and Reconciliation report

READ ALSO: VIDEO: More interest in indigenous culture and language seen at Langley event

Langley Township council meetings currently do not open with a reconciliation statement.

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Popular Thanksgiving festival cancelled by COVID

Fort Langley’s 25th annual October street festivities are put off until 2021 to avoid spread of virus

Drive-in theatre inspires Langley pastor to create similar church service

Jericho Ridge Community Church tried out the concept Sunday, and will do it again Aug. 2

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

PHOTOS: Frontline crew at Langley Lodge thanked with songs and soup

Flowers, music, gift cards, and food were delivered to the long-term care home to show appreciation

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read