People paddling canoes during the Gathering of Canoes

Toward Truth and Reconciliation

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations are the original inhabitants of the unceded land that is now known as the city of Vancouver. Unceded means that the land was never legally ceded, or given up, to the Crown through a treaty or other agreement.

For the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Truth and Reconciliation is more than a ceremonial acknowledgement of these territories.

It’s an opportunity to:

  • Learn the true history of Vancouver and acknowledge the unjust treatment of the people whose lands we occupy
  • Build better relationships with the sovereign Nations of these lands and Indigenous peoples who call Vancouver home
  • Create parks that put non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples in better relations with each other

The challenges

Important places rich in archeological, cultural, and ecological significance for the 3 Nations have been intentionally diminished by settlers.

First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and other Urban Indigenous peoples living in Vancouver find few places to connect with and practice their culture, even though this city is home to the third largest Urban Indigenous population in Canada.

Our approach

Working towards Reconciliation with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlilwətaɬ Nations.

Our role

Vancouver's parks are venues to foster connections between all people and these unceded lands.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation cares for much of the last of Vancouver’s relatively undeveloped land.

This puts us in a unique position to partner with the Host Nations in preserving spiritually and archaeologically significant places, and stewarding park ecosystems for generations to come.

Reconciliation actions

By City of Vancouver


  • Reconciliation staff

    By City of Vancouver

    The Park Board has hired dedicated staff to support our ambitious Reconciliation agenda. The new Reconciliation planner consults widely with Indigenous leaders to ensure Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices are reflected in our policies and programs. We have also hired Canada’s first municipal archaeologist and a dedicated Stanley Park planner.

  • Park Board archaeologist

    By City of Vancouver

    Hired in 2016 on the recommendation of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, Geordie Howe brings 40 years of archaeological experience to the Park Board. He is a key resource in the Board’s ongoing work with the three Nations on a comprehensive plan for Stanley Park. Geordie also supports a variety of projects with potential archaeological significance. Photo by John Lehmann, Globe and Mail 

  • Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group

    By City of Vancouver

    This group is a unique forum for Park Board and staff from the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations to work on a long-term comprehensive plan for Stanley Park with a 100-year vision. The group is also designing a public consultation strategy for the project.

  • Renaming Siwash Rock

    By City of Vancouver

    The word “Siwash” is understood to be offensive so the Park Board has begun a process to rename it, led by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

  • Park naming

    By City of Vancouver

    The Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations are consulted on the Park Board’s new process for naming its unnamed and new parks. The Nations will lead the naming process for park sites that are significant to them, consulting with their communities on names that are culturally appropriate. Select the image to view a full-size PDF of the map (246 KB).

  • Cultural education at New Brighton Park Salt Marsh

    By City of Vancouver

    The New Brighton Park Salt Marsh is the first Park Board site to feature culturally appropriate signage translated into traditional languages. A kiosk featuring cultural educational content will be built by the Park Board and the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

  • Reflecting Indigenous principles in the new Northeast False Creek park

    By City of Vancouver

    Staff are working closely with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and Urban Indigenous communities to ensure principles of cultural practice, ecological stewardship, and visibility of the three Nations on their own lands is reflected in the design of this major new park.

  • Reconciliation training for staff

    By City of Vancouver

    The Park Board is working with the three Nations to develop training for all staff to better understand the histories of the land on which we work, as well as better respond to the interests and concerns of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. This training will be complementary to existing cultural awareness workshops.

  • AFrame Activation: Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Cultural Residenc

    By City of Vancouver

    This cultural residency supports a community member from the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), or səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations to work in a creative, activated and community-engaged space in a part of their unceded territory currently known as Stanley Park. Chrystal Sparrow, a Musqueam Coast Salish artist, is the current Aframe resident until July 2020.

  • Wild Salmon Caravan

    By City of Vancouver

    Integrating Indigenous issues, ecology, food security, and art, this project is a prime example of learning from Indigenous people how to better adapt our processes to support them.