Newcastle Island can be a place of healing

The ‘management agreement’ under which Newcastle Island is to be developed seems flawed at the outset.

To the Editor,

Re: Newcastle park offers potential, Editorial, July 21.

Newcastle ‘potential’ was vaguely discussed in your editorial.

The ‘management agreement’ under which the island is to be developed seems flawed at the outset. It attempts to ensure the continuing conflict of values and goals that dominates Nanaimo with a loose stranglehold given to the famously racist interests of the city. For me, the fundamental roadblock is simply Nanaimo’s preference for ignoring First Nations. Here we have an opportunity to vote for and get behind the aspirations of Nanaimo First Nations, by resolving the unmentioned land claims dispute that undermines the process to begin with. Doug White’s comments excite me. My own dream would be an honest dynamic or living education facility that completely brings into full local view our heritage of the Salish nation. It would be a year-round facility that caters to the students that wish to know, appreciate and honour the Snuneymuxw citizens of our city. That prism would ensure that we do not become duped by so-called ‘First Nations cultural tourism’ (double-speak for ‘theme park’), which produces tents and unneeded venues that will demand filling by tourists, i.e. outsiders.

Honouring our First Nations history, wholesomely, will benefit all of its citizens (i.e. insiders – Snuneymuxw and the rest of us). By allowing the full interpretation of the site by its one-time owners, we may begin to heal the rifts, the racism and the resistance of the larger community to do anything wholehearted about our community’s soul.

What a wonderful opportunity. Let’s not waste it – again.

Dale Partridge