Victoria-Songhees reburial

Mayor Fortin builds a bridge to the Songhees First Nation. Picture: Johnstonstreetbridge.org

Last summer there was a sad incident with human remains being disturbed in the Dallas Road area of Victoria. The remains, of a young SLENI (woman) were subsequently reburied and since then a burning ceremony has been held.  I’ve been privileged to attend burning and reburial ceremonies and they are powerful and sincere events.  Interesting then to see this news snippet today , focusing on the cost ($9,400) — I can hardly wait for the informed and balanced commentary to ensue.  But kudos to Dean Fortin for doing the right thing – it is no more (or less) than most developers have done over the last decade when human remains were disturbed.  I have to say, though, it is disingenous for Mayor Fortin to note the Songhees reserve is not in the City of Victoria — memo to the Mayor: Victoria is within Songhees territory; the remains are from Songhees territory, the current reserve boundaries are completely irrelevant to this issue.

Victoria News

The cost of being freindly [sic]

By Lisa Weighton – Victoria News

Published: January 11, 2010 3:00 PM

Updated: January 11, 2010 3:34 PM

Mayor Dean Fortin is making First Nations relations a priority.

Last month, the city invested $9,400 in a traditional reburial ceremony after discovering 300-year-old human bones during a sewer retrenching project on Dallas Road, Aug. 27.

“We feel like we have an obligation to work with all other levels of government including our First Nations,” said Fortin.

The cost was a drop in the bucket in the overall $2.4 million-project said Derk Wevers, the city’s sewer and storm water quality technician.

Following consultation with Esquimalt First Nation elder Mary Anne Thomas and Songhees First Nation elder Elmer George, a reburial service was held Dec. 8.

The city also financed a traditional burning ceremony and feast on the Songhees First Nation reserve late last month, which included wages for a city contractor, gifts, food and the gravestone.

Fortin said he was eager to take part despite the reserve not being within Victoria’s boundaries.

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