VANCOUVER’S Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon is apologizing to local First Nations for remarks he made in a recent Vancouver Sun article concerning the history of the area now known as Stanley Park.
The article in question contained a reference to the significance of Stanley Park and places within it that he recognizes is inaccurate and insulting to the local First Nations.
In a statement, Mackinnon said: “I would like to apologize to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples for my remarks. I understand that the area we now call Stanley Park was never ‘just a forest’; that since time immemorial the local indigenous peoples stewarded and inhabited the entire area, and that there are several places there that have hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh names. My remarks regarding the renaming of Stanley Park run counter to the spirit of the motion I submitted, which was to acknowledge and honour the place names throughout the region known to local First Nations.
“Further, I hope that my misinformed statements do not hinder efforts to move forward with the motion, which was conceived as a means to rectify the injustice of the erasure of traditional place names in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and to restore and normalize the use of these languages throughout both indigenous and non-indigenous communities.
“I regret that this misinformation was spread due to the emphasis on my perspective over those of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people. They have long been available to speak with authority about their own languages, place names, and history and yet it is often my voice that is given prominence. I recognize that this is unfair, and in future I will strive to defer to voices from within the three Nations.”