Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Vancouver Magazine, on the Tsawwassen treaty: I Want from Now and Everlasting

“I am going to explain to you gentlemen how our ancestors were created in this place, right over at the high land here known as Scale-Up, or English Bluff.” This is how Harry Joe opened his arguments before the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission on Indian Affairs during its hearings at the Tsawwassen Indian reserve on April 28, 1914. He began with a story about arriving, and that’s the important part. After all these years, with Joe’s great-granddaughter, Kim Baird, at the middle of it, the story is still about arriving.

English Bluff is a place name that comes from the 1910 Admiralty Chart. Scale-Up comes from S’tlalep, a complex Hun’qum’i’num term that can be rendered as I Want From Now and Everlasting. Harry Joe was a prosperous fisherman and farmer who proudly displayed his vegetable varieties at the New Westminster agricultural exhibition every year. He was also chief of the Tsawwassen Indian band.

The grievance that Chief Joe put before the royal commission was this: back in the 1860s, the government had been disgracefully parsimonious in its allocation of reserve land to the Tsawwassen people. There was still good farmland around the village, Chief Joe said, but it was going to waste. Indians had been legally prohibited from pre-empting and developing land, so they had to settle for whatever the government gave them. Chief Joe and his people once owned all the land they could see for miles and miles around, and they’d been left with almost nothing. The Tsawwassen people needed more land.

The royal commission said no.

Harry had a son, Simon, who married Philomena “Birdie” Adams from the Katzie tribe. Simon and Philomena had a daughter named Edith who moved to Langley and married a white man named Lorne Baird. Edith raised four sons and a daughter, Kim. After Lorne died, Edith and her children led something of a vagrant life but eventually arrived back at the Tsawwassen reserve and settled down. . .

The first first modern treaty in Canada comes into force next Friday, April 3. Getting it has been the life's work of Kim Baird, Chief of the Tsawwassen people. The rest of the story is here.

9 Comments:

Blogger IceClass said...

As I'm discovering; Land Claims are all in the implementation.
I wish them luck.

11:23 AM  
Blogger IceClass said...

Only my crumby comment in this thread but dozens on that fruit Galloway???

Lands Claims are about building a nation ferfucksakes!

WTF? Is this Canada or what?

11:50 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Iceclass:

"We don't do nation building."

- Donald Rumsfeld, who in this important and fundamental respect agrees with George Galloway.

11:53 AM  
Blogger IceClass said...

You know the way ex-smokers are the worst anti-tobacco nazis?

Forgive me Tel' I'm currently drowning in Canadians' ignorance over their own bloody country.

Us immigrants in the resource colonies get a little miffed at the attention spans and interests of the average US border hugging Canuck.

Fuck it. I'm off to kill a caribou. That always makes me feel better.
;)

12:52 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

May your aim be true and your kill be clean, Comrade Iceclass.

1:52 PM  
Blogger whemedia said...

If the agreement is anything like what the Nisgaa got, expect lots of refugees to stream into Vancouver. Mark my words.

11:09 PM  
Blogger IceClass said...

Update: I went one way while the caribou had obviously gone the other.
I didn't have to make a mess of myself and all in the world is obviously as it should be.
Thanks for the Jinx Terry.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Sorry, Mr Ice.

I am notorious for my hunting jinxes, and my fishing jinxes.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Katherine Kerr Photography said...

interesting post

4:14 AM  

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