Oak Bay compiles data on First Nations referrals across the landscape – Saanich News
Oak Bay is armed with information when the opportunity arises to examine monuments that reference First Nations history in the community.
Late last year, the council chose to compile a register of monuments referring to the pre-colonial traditional land uses of the Lekwungen people. Although they have not yet been integrated into district systems, staff have collected geographic information system locations and wording on each Oak Bay landmark.
“It’s our job to make sure we have all the information available so there’s no additional work required as we move forward,” Mayor Kevin Murdoch said.
The plan is to engage with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to review the wording and relevance of all monuments in the district.
It’s a small, but key part of reconciliation, Murdoch said, and it’s among several starting points for the council.
Last spring, members agreed to work with local First Nations to add the Lekwungen place names – with advice from members Songhees and Esquimalt. The goal is to broaden the public’s understanding of the history of the lands now known as Oak Bay.
In February, the council agreed in principle to adopt Call to Action #43 of the Summary Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This requires all levels of government to adopt and fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.
With work underway at the provincial level to create a framework for how municipalities should adopt the call to action in their operations, council supported its adoption in principle, for now.
Oak Bay also plans to take a closer look at creating a community truth and reconciliation task force. The Board directed staff to develop terms of reference for such a committee.
All of the conversations at the council table refer to building pathways to reconciliation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations in a manner that is respectful of First Nations resource capacity.
First Nations HistoryOak Bay