Settlement over reserve land loss goes to vote by Snuneymuxw people

NANAIMO - Multimillion-dollar settlement for land lost in 1880s seen as potentially “transformative” for First Nation’s economic prospects.

Nearly $50 million is at stake in an upcoming vote to ratify a settlement over land the Snuneymuxw lost in the 1880s.

The settlement is over a 32-hectare reserve the Snuneymuxw once had on the shores of Newcastle Channel along what is now Stewart Avenue.

The Thlap’qwum Specific Claim – also known as the 79-Acre Claim – filed in 1992, said that land was wrongfully taken from the Snuneymuxw. Canada accepted the claim as valid in 2003 and subsequent negotiations have resulted in a settlement offer made in 2014 totalling $49,148,121, which includes costs for legal counsel to negotiate the claim.

Snuneymuxw chief and council are hoping to get eligible voters in the First Nation, about 1,200 in all, to vote to ratify the settlement on Nov. 12.

“It’s been a complicated issue and it’s been a very important part of our objectives, at Snuneymuxw, to try and get more land,” said Douglas White III, band councillor and former Snuneymuxw chief. “You can only imagine how, the impact of losing the 79 acres, what it’s meant for us over the years.”

Snuneymuxw First Nation, with a population of about 1,700, is among the most populous First Nations in B.C., but currently lives on the smallest per capita reserve land base in the province.

“The lack of land has always been a key challenge,” White said.

The settlement, if it is ratified in the upcoming vote, is described on the Snuneymuxw First Nation website as potentially “transformative” and the money would be put into a trust managed by a committee of trustees to be used for projects and acquisitions.

“It’s all the things you would imagine,” White said. “It’s for the benefit of the community, for the membership. It’s looking at land acquisitions, community development – all the things that you would expect.”

As part of the agreement, the Snuneymuxw can also ask for 32 ha of land to become reserve land. That could include portions of Department of National Defence property near Harewood through future negotiations.

Information packages have been mailed or delivered to eligible Snuneymuxw First Nation members. Anyone who has not received a package is asked to contact Theresa Marion, electoral officer at 604-666-5071 or at Theresa.Marion@aandc-aadnc.gc.ca.

For more information about the settlement and history of the Thlap’qwum Specific Claim, please visit www.snuneymuxw.ca/project/79-acre-claim.

Just Posted

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read