Snuneymuxw Chief John Wesley, left, holds the flag that used to fly atop Nanaimo City Hall. Nanaimo Coun. Bill Yoachim, middle, and Snuneymuxw councillor Douglas White III also spoke Friday in front of the city hall steps. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Snuneymuxw council takes back flag from Nanaimo City Hall

Members of Snuneymuxw went to city hall Friday to ask for the flag back, and were presented with it

The Snuneymuxw flag no longer flies above Nanaimo City Hall.

Members of Snuneymuxw government went to city hall Friday to ask for the flag back, and were presented with it.

“I’m not happy as chief to be here asking for something we gave to the city in good faith and friendship and partnership,” said Snuneymuxw Chief John Wesley.

Snuneymuxw council unanimously resolved Aug. 29 to ask that the flag be returned. The First Nation is asking Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay to rescind a statement relating to “violence experienced by Tracy Samra in the attack against her by city councillor Wendy Pratt,” and is asking mayor and council to denounce violence against First Nations women.

Coun. Bill Yoachim, acting mayor, handed over the flag to Wesley following speeches in front of city hall steps.

“From the bottom of my heart and to the citizens of Nanaimo, we look forward to somehow obtaining that trust [in] our council again…” Yoachim said. “I just hope my Snuneymuxw relations and leadership realize it hasn’t been all of our council, all of the wishes of this council and the city to move this direction, but unfortunately scenarios are where they are and with time, hopefully we’ll earn your trust.”

Snuneymuxw councillor Douglas White III said the First Nation is showing support not only for Samra – who is his wife’s cousin – but for every indigenous woman in Canada.

“This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in this country and this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in Snuneymuxw territory…” White said. “As a country we must grapple with hard issues. We must show real leadership. We can’t pretend that things don’t exist that exist. We can’t pretend that things aren’t wrong when they’re wrong.”

White said behaviour he’s seen at Nanaimo city hall “brings dishonour to our relationship and to the flag.”

McKay was invited to speak and made a brief statement, saying, “We’ll continue our work at city council to right the wrongs.”

The mayor told reporters afterward that he was disappointed to see the Snuneymuxw flag come down.

“We put that flag up in friendship between Snuneymuxw and the city that we govern the territory together, and it’s disappointing that it’s come down today, but we’ll rebuild the relationship one step at a time, with baby steps.”

White said he’s surprised the mayor didn’t have more to say in front of city hall Friday.

“It’s troubling. The major part of the purpose of this work is to denounce, but also to invite the creation of a different pattern, a different reality,” White said.

editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Theft of gas from Fairwinds golf course results in environmental damage

Approximately 400 litres seeped into nearby areas, including ponds

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: City has an obligation as far as pedestrian safety

This is about ensuring the basic physical safety of our citizens, says letter writer

UPDATE: Deer that may have been hunted in area known for chronic wasting disease located

Conservation officers made urgent request for any info about hunters thought to be from Nanaimo

Nanaimo hospital foundation trying to Light the Trees to combat colon cancer

December campaign calls for donations to build new $1.5-million endoscopy suite at NRGH

Nanaimo Hornets to play first-ever quadruple-header

Hornets women and three men’s squads in action Saturday, Nov. 23, at Pioneer Park

Fashion Fridays: Holiday outfits on a budget

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

B.C.’s largest catholic archdiocese names 9 clergymen in sex abuse report; probes ongoing

Vancouver Archdioces presides over 443,000 parishoners in B.C.

City of Nanaimo budget talks underway, projected tax increase up to 5.6 per cent

Series of special finance and audit meetings was held Wednesday at conference centre

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

Canadian Forces member charged with possessing magic mushrooms in Comox

Master Cpl. Joshua Alexander, with the 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron, facing two drug related charges

Most B.C. residents, including those hit by 2018 storms, not prepared for outages: report

Create an emergency kit, BC Hydro says, and report all outages or downed lines

Study finds microplastics in all remote Arctic beluga whales tested

Lead author Rhiannon Moore says she wasn’t expecting to see so many microplastics so far north

Most Read