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

City of Nanaimo being sued by human resources firm

Integrity Group seeking more than $50,000 over what it claims are unpaid bills

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Tilray to become medical marijuana supplier to Shoppers Drug Mart

Deal contingent on Shoppers Drug Mart receiving Health Canada approval

School bus route changes considered in Nanaimo, Ladysmith

First bus route review released by Nanaimo school district

Community marches in support of Nanaimo women and all women

Nanaimo Women March On event was Saturday, Jan. 20

Woman in Nanaimo buys $70 worth of ice cream with allegedly stolen debit card

Purchase said to have occurred on Jan. 11 at 2 a.m. at Nicol General Store

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

City council gives go-ahead for new affordable seniors’ housing

57-unit, four-storey building to be constructed at 20 Prideaux St. in Nanaimo

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Most Read