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LETTER: First Nations should have say on Spewhung

Once again there is evidence that residents are not happy with council’s lack of engaging them in determining the future of Spewhung/Turkey Head (letter Feb. 10).

The reconciliation commitment unfortunately came after the renegotiation of the marina lease had started but it is never too late to do the right thing. Surely there is enough goodwill for the district and the chosen proponent to suspend talks while an overall plan is developed to recognize the Indigenous interest in not only Turkey Head, but the adjacent waterfront and the island as well.

I would hope that an ad hoc advisory committee could be formed of residents and representatives of the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, but only if they are in favour of being involved and take the lead in bringing forth viable ideas. There would be a council liaison. This must not be another colonial initiative conceived by the settler community as to what the Indigenous groups should want.

As one with Indigenous ancestry (Secwepemc) of which I am sensitive and proud, I see more than enough of this “doing good” by those who cannot shake off the colonial mindset. Chris Sankey (Lax Kw’alaams) said it best, “These do-gooder outsiders stop at nothing to tell Indigenous people how best to run our lives.” (Reconciliation is marred by eco-colonialism – Globe & Mail Feb. 12, 2022).

Graham Ross

Oak Bay