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Council approves funding to extend legacy and spirit of Canada 150+ program

December 13 2017 Flags of three Host Nations raised in Council chambers to recognize Indigenous traditional territory

"I'm also very proud that the flags of our three Host Nations will fly at City Hall to permanently acknowledge Vancouver's location on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh unceded homelands and to honour our Indigenous hosts."

Pictured in photo, left to right: Gordon Grant, Richard Baker, Morgan Guerin, Charlene Aleck, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Deborah Baker, Michelle George

City Council today approved $350,000 in funding from the City of Vancouver Innovation Fund to enable collaboration with First Nations and urban Indigenous communities in support of arts and culture programs in our city.

The funds will support actions intended to extend the legacy of this year's 'Vancouver Commemorates Canada 150+' program: hiring of an Indigenous cultural planner and, in collaboration with the Vancouver Park Board, funding for Indigenous-led events that would carry forward the Canada 150+ spirit of reconciliation.

Council recognized the three Host Nations - Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh - along with programming partners Reconciliation Canada and the Pulling Together Canoe Society, for their collaboration in planning and mounting the year-long Canada 150+ program.

Flags of the three Host Nations a permanent fixture in Council chambers

Today the City also raised the flags of the three Host Nations in City Council chambers where they will remain a permanent fixture in recognition of Vancouver's location on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Councillors from the three Nations were present for the flag raising: Morgan Guerin and Gordon Grant representing Musqueam, Deborah Baker and Richard Baker representing Squamish, and Charlene Aleck and Michelle George representing Tsleil-Waututh.

"The theme of the Canada 150+ program was 'Moving Forward Together' and I am very pleased that the significant work we did alongside our three Host Nations over the past year has strengthened our relationships and helped to solidify Vancouver's commitment as a City of Reconciliation," Mayor Gregor Robertson said. "I am glad that Council supports the City's continued investment in Indigenous-focused arts and culture programs that build on the work of Canada 150+. I'm also very proud that the flags of our three Host Nations will fly at City Hall to permanently acknowledge Vancouver's location on Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh unceded homelands and to honour our Indigenous hosts."

Canada 150+ events

Canada 150+ was Vancouver's year-long celebration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous arts and culture - both traditional and contemporary. The program launched on New Year's Eve and included more than 75 events and activities, with three large signature events - the Gathering of Canoes, the Drum is Calling Festival, and the Walk for Reconciliation.

There were close to 400,000 total participants in the various Canada 150+ events held throughout the year, including approximately 50,000 who came out for the second Walk for Reconciliation in September. The City also received national and international attention for its unique approach to commemorating Canada 150.

The year-long program created a number of legacies

The year-long program created a number of both tangible and intangible legacies, including:

  • A pilot apprenticeship program, which opened pathways into careers in the live event industry for Indigenous production apprentices; at the end of the program seven of the eight participants had secured employment or job offers in their area of training
  • A public art legacy in the form of multiple murals created by Indigenous artists
  • The Vancouver Public Library's Story City  online exhibit, which captures the memories and experiences of people growing up in a diverse and changing city over the years - including Indigenous people
  • Infrastructure improvements along False Creek for specific events, which have potential for re-use by other cultural projects
  • Improved Indigenous cultural competency for City staff who have strengthened relations with the Host Nations and members of the urban Indigenous community