Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Metro Vancouver Regional District celebrated the signing of an historic co-operation agreement for Belcarra Regional Park, recognizing both Tsleil-Waututh’s ancestral ties to the land and the present use by its members as well as a Metro Vancouver regional park.
The Cultural Planning and Co-Operation Agreement – the first of its kind for Metro Vancouver – formalizes the ongoing collaboration between the two parties and seeks to identify common interests and share ideas on how they can work together to protect, preserve and enhance the regional park for the benefit of present and future generations.
The signing ceremony included myself and CAO Jerry Dobrovolny along with Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Leah George-Wilson and CAO Ernie (Bones) George. Directors John McEwen, Chair, Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Committee, and Mary-Ann Booth, Chair, Metro Vancouver Indigenous Relations Committee, also spoke at the event, while Tsleil-Waututh’s Carleen Thomas shared a cultural story of her family’s connections with the land.
The agreement follows years of collaboration between Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Metro Vancouver. Since 2016, Tsleil-Waututh and Metro Vancouver have worked together on various projects at Belcarra Regional Park, including recent plans for the Belcarra Picnic Area, which encompasses the location of an ancestral Tsleil-Waututh village known as təmtəmixʷtən (Tum-tumay-wa-ton).
Təmtəmixʷtən, or “the biggest place for all the people,” is the largest of the ancestral Tsleil-Waututh villages, primarily occupied as a winter village. Tsleil-Waututh has occupied təmtəmixʷtən since time out of mind until colonization, and still has strong, ongoing cultural ties to this place.
The agreement does not abrogate any treaty rights, existing or asserted Aboriginal rights, titles or interests of the Tsleil-Waututh people or applicable legislation, including Metro Vancouver’s rights and powers under such legislation.