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City and aboriginal leaders celebrate Year of Reconciliation

June 17 2014

“Over the past year, Vancouver residents of all cultures joined with First Nations in building a stronger understanding of the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal Peoples today and throughout our shared history,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

aboriginal-community

A celebration of the City of Vancouver’s Year of Reconciliation took place today at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, as attendees reflected on the past year, celebrated the events that took place, and looked to the future for a new way forward.

The event was organized by the City of Vancouver, Reconciliation Canada, and the City’s Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee. Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, spoke at the event as well as representatives from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

The speakers reflected on a number of events and initiatives that took place throughout the past year, which provided the foundation for Vancouver’s goal to become the world’s first City of Reconciliation. The Year of Reconciliation began on June 21, 2013.

“Over the past year, Vancouver residents of all cultures joined with First Nations in building a stronger understanding of the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal Peoples today and throughout our shared history,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We heard stories of unspeakable tragedy, grief and loss, but also of incredibly rich histories, cultures, and dreams — and together we moved toward a focus on a far better future for indigenous peoples in Canada. My deep thanks to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and the urban aboriginal community in Vancouver for their inspiring contributions and commitment to the spirit of reconciliation.

“As a City of Reconciliation, Vancouver will continue to enable innovative and inclusive actions to build a legacy of understanding and respect between all cultures. We are making a long-term commitment to advance reconciliation, to meaningfully support the rights and aspirations of Aboriginal People in Vancouver, and to share our progress with cities globally.”

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph said: “The City of Vancouver declaration for a Year of Reconciliation is courageous and inspirational, and has been profound in its resonance among Vancouverites."

Activities supporting the Year of Reconciliation

As part of its commitment to supporting reconciliation, the City of Vancouver and its partners supported a number of activities throughout the Year of Reconciliation. The activities were multidisciplinary, from ceremonial events to visual and performing arts, to large public gatherings like last September’s Walk for Reconciliation. The walk was attended by more than 70,000 people.

Lasting legacy — Carving Pavilion

One of the more important legacy initiatives was the recent announcement to create a new, purpose-built Carving Pavilion at Britannia. Since 2008, Britannia has partnered with aboriginal carvers on many significant carving projects under a temporary carving tent. The new pavilion will offer a multipurpose space to continue many of these activities, and to host community gatherings, dialogues, and experiential learning programs.

Learn more about the Year of Reconciliation

Year of Reconciliation

Year of Reconciliation

In partnership with Reconciliation Canada, the City supported a Year of Reconciliation by acknowledging the negative cultural impacts and stereotypes that resulted from Canada’s residential school system.