Musqueam will always defend our territory and rights, just as our ancestors did
Musqueam, along with Tsawwassen First Nation, City of Richmond, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Province of British Columbia and Canada, are defendants in a legal case brought forward in 2014 by four Vancouver Island First Nations: Cowichan Tribes, Stz’uminus, Penelakut, and Halalt, with support from Lyackson.
This group is claiming Aboriginal rights to fish the South Arm of the Fraser River, and Aboriginal title over lands in Richmond, including a Musqueam site, ƛ̓əqtinəs, located along the shore of the South Arm of the Fraser River. They claim to have held these lands under their exclusive control in 1846, to the exclusion of Musqueam, by way of a Cowichan village.
Musqueam joined this case in 2016. The trial started in September 2019, and as of January 28, 2022 we are on day 363 of the trial.
Our relatives from Vancouver Island have decided they want to go against our protocols and ways of resource sharing that we have practiced for thousands of years.
True to Musqueam teachings, we have never refused our families from other communities. But we also expect this sharing to come through respectful requests and acknowledgement.
Beginning on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, Musqueam witnesses will testify for several weeks. We are defending our territory, resources and teachings in a courtroom that must learn about our unique history and ways of knowing, which are different from Canadian law.
But as our ancestors have done before us, we will continue to defend Musqueam territory and rights for future generations.