PRESS RELEASE – RE: c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole Midden )


September 28, 2012

PRESS RELEASE – MUSQUEAM INDIAN BAND – REc̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole Midden )

The Musqueam Indian Band is pleased to have received today a decision dated September 27, 2012 made by the Province regarding the permits issued by the Province under the Heritage Conservation Act to permit a 5 story condominium development at c̓əsnaʔəm, also known as the Musqueam Marpole Village Site.  As recognized in the decision, this site was declared to be a National Historic Site in 1933 as one of the largest pre-contact middens in Western Canada and it has special significance for Musqueam. 

The decision refers to a statement by Musqueam elder and Councillor, Howard Grant, as effectively articulating the immutable position of the Musqueam community with respect to the sacred value of the Site as an ancestral village site.  The decision also refers to the opinion of Dr. Miller, professor of Anthropology at U.B.C., that the Site remains one of the most significant archaeological sites in Canada.  The recent discovery of further intact ancestral remains was noted in the decision. 

In view of the evidence presented by the Band, it was decided that the permits that had been issued in December 2011 should not be extended until December 31, 2013 as requested by the developers.  Instead they should be allowed to expire on September 30, 2012 except that one permit should be extended until November 1, 2012 to allow only for the mandatory return of the lots to their original condition including the covering of the intact burials and the reburial of partial remains.

Musqueam is pleased that the proposed development is no longer authorized by the permits issued by the Province and that the ancestral remains are to be restored to their original condition.  Their disturbance caused great anguish to the community and the proposed development would have desecrated an ancient and sacred burial place and destroyed a site precious to the Musqueam as representing one of the few links to our heritage extending back thousands of years.  It would also have destroyed a Canadian historic site and a heritage site that should be protected for all British Columbians.

Musqueam looks forward to being actively involved in the steps to be taken to restore the ancestral remains in accordance with Musqueam customs and beliefs, steps that must be taken immediately to prevent further deterioration.

Contacts:  Councillor Wade Grant – 604-318-8484;

Band Manager – Ken McGregor – 604-317-6078;