Salish Orca
Salish Orca, with artwork designed by Darlene Gait from Esquimalt Nation | BC Ferries

BC Ferries and the Snuneymuxw First Nation have entered into a relationship agreement to guide their work together moving forward, according to a Thursday release.

The agreement is the first step in building a strong partnership between the two parties built on mutual respect, recognition, mutual benefit and cooperation, based on a recognition of Snuneymuxw’s rights under the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854.

This treaty protects and preserves Snuneymuxw lands and waters, and enables trade and commerce in their territory.

There are four BC Ferry terminals currently operating in Snuneymuxw territory: Departure Bay, Nanaimo Harbour and Duke Point in Nanaimo, and Descano Bay on Gabriola Island.

The agreement document outlines shared goals, including the following initial topics for discussion: 

  • Cumulative impacts of ferry operations in Snuneymuxw villages, employment and economic opportunities, land and marine stewardship, and inclusion of Snuneymuxw culture and Sna’wayalth
  • The process for engaging Snuneymuxw in specific projects with the objective of gaining the Nation’s free, prior, and informed consent
  • Establishing the process for a collaborative, transparent and respectful long-term relationship between BC Ferries and Snuneymuxw 

“Snuneymuxw People remember the day when the vessels first bumped into Stlilup – Departure Bay over 200 years ago” said Acting Chief Sqwulutsultun William (Bill) Yoachim, Snuneymuxw First Nation. 

“After generations of persistent action, our Nation and BC Ferries are forging a common pathway going forward with a shared understanding on the range of issues that are important.  We look forward to continuing discussions with BC Ferries that will bring immediate and long-term resolve, building a rewarding partnership that benefits generations to come.”

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