Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh flags permanently raised at Stanley Park’s Brockton Point
At an historic event at spapəy̓əq Pápiy̓eḵ, commonly known as Brockton Point in Stanley Park, flags representing the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations were raised today.
This is the first time the local Nations’ flags have been permanently raised in a park in the city of Vancouver.
The decision to raise the flags follows discussion by the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group, comprised of staff from the Nations and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.
Chief Wayne Sparrow of Musqueam Indian Band
“I am a direct descendant of the last Indigenous residents of Stanley Park. The violent and destructive removal of my family from their home at spapəy̓əq is part of our history. The city’s Park Board was instrumental in deeming us ‘squatters’ and burning our ancestral villages to the ground. Today’s raising of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh flags at Brockton Point is a significant milestone in establishing a new relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Park Board and ensuring the truth is remembered. Musqueam looks forward to continuing this collaborative work with Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and the Park Board to recognize our ancestral connections to this land and shared commitment to reconciliation.”
Wilson Williams (Sxwíxwtn) of Squamish Nation
“The raising of our flags today is another way to demonstrate to outside world that our people are deeply connected to these lands and waters. Raising these flags encourages the broader community to learn more about our history, culture and traditions. We have always been here, and we will always be here. These flags clearly represent that this is the shared territories of our three Nations.”
Chief Jen Thomas of Tsleil-Waututh Nation
“The City of Vancouver recently adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a road map for a meaningful relationship between the City and the three Host Nations, and the raising of səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation’s flag, alongside the flags of our relatives Squamish and Musqueam, at spapəy̓əq Pápiy̓eḵ is a step towards reconciliation. Displaying our flag at Stanley Park, a place enjoyed by the local community and visitors throughout the year, is one way that Tsleil-Waututh Nation is putting the face of our Nation back on our traditional territory.”
Rena Soutar, Manager of Decolonization, Arts and Culture, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
“This small but meaningful gesture marks an important moment for the Park Board and acknowledges the value that as an organization we place on our approach to reconciliation. This is a step towards balancing the cultures and histories of Stanley Park, a place of great significance to the three Nations and a site of colonial harms, and a signal to residents and visitors that this land is on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories.”
In 2017, Park Board staff removed three flag poles displaying Canadian, British Columbia and Union Jack flags at Brockton Point, due to ageing infrastructure and safety issues.
Noting the prevalence of Canadian, Provincial and Union Jack flags in Stanley Park and across the city, the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group advised that replacing these flags with those of the local Nations represents a small step in acknowledging the Nations’ connection to the area.
In 2022, the previous Park Board approved the recommendation PDF file (388 KB) to install and raise Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh flags on the replaced flagpoles at Brockton Point.
The Stanley Park Comprehensive Plan
The place currently known as Stanley Park is of great significance to the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations as a central confluence in their unceded territories.
Among the work being developed by the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Committee and Working Group is a comprehensive plan that articulates a 100-year vision for the area and integrates the protocols and teachings of the local Nations into park design, planning and management.
Through the truth-telling phase of the ongoing planning work, much has been uncovered regarding the erasure of the Nations’ histories and presence in Stanley Park. The intergovernmental group has identified opportunities to redress these colonial actions through acknowledgement and increased visibility of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh in the park.
Find out more about the Park Board’s approach to reconciliation: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/reconciliation-our-approach.aspx