In a demonstration of true reconciliation, members of the Kwikwetlem First Nation (KFN) on January 29th, presented the Province of BC with an ocean canoe to be displayed in the new həy̓χʷət kʷθə šxʷhəliʔ leləm (Healing Spirit House) building on the Riverview Lands. Over 125 people attended to witness the traditional ceremony including KFN members, provincial and local government representatives, business and community leaders from the Tri-Cities area. The event was organized by Andrea Aleck, Chief Officer, Special Projects with KFN Enterprises LP (KFNE), which is the business arm of KFN. The two-hour dedication ceremony provided attendees with an opportunity to learn more about KFN history and Coast Salish tradition and culture. It was followed by a lunch consisting of indigenous and non-indigenous foods.
“Today marks another step in the reconciliation process between the Kwikwetlem First Nation and the Province of BC. We appreciate the Province’s recognition that the Riverview Lands was once an important village site for our ancestors. We also appreciate the opportunity for our nation-owned business, KFN Enterprises LP, to be involved in many projects either completed or currently underway at the Riverivew Lands. In our view, reconciliation goes two-ways. The Province has demonstrated its willingness to work with KFN to right the wrongs of the past and dedication of this KFN canoe for display at The Healing Spirit House is our way of showing appreciation for our new relationship with the Province.”
The dedication of a KFN canoe for display at The Healing Spirit House is the third time in recent years that KFN has partnered with the Province of BC to ensure Coast Salish art is featured in public areas on its territory. In November 2016, KFN provided art for display in the Coquitlam Central Station on the Evergreen Extension of the Skytrain system. Last month, KFNE announced that all new Electrical Utility Boxes on the Riverview Lands had been wrapped in Coast Salish designs chosen by two KFN Youth, Fred Hulbert Jr. and Austin Joe.