Five-year-old Jesse Rice Jr. performs Lekwungen traditional dance at the Langford Aboriginal Day Festival last year. Metchosin is hosting its own celebration this year with Beecher Bay First Nation on Aboriginal Day, including Elder Witnessing, singing and drumming, story-telling and children’s activities. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Metchosin and Beecher Bay celebrate Aboriginal Day

Combined celebration marks another positive step in the relationship between the two communities

While these two neighbours haven’t always been the best of friends, that’s certainly changed in recent years.

In the wake of what many called a historic land deal earlier this year, the District of Metchosin and Beecher Bay First Nation will celebrate their Aboriginal Day and their continued friendship Wednesday evening.

The Reconciliation Celebration is a sign that any neighbourly disputes of the past are well in the rear view mirror, and both municipalities are eager to celebrate together according to Metchosin Coun. Loralea Milne.

The new-found relationship between the two municipalities began late last decade according to Milne, leading to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010.

“We’ve had ongoing discussions with them over a number of years, culminating in the land transfer,” she said, referring to the deal that also included the City of Langford. “We decided that this would be the perfect time for our two communities to get together and to celebrate all that has happened with us in the last seven or eight years.”

Milne says that the shift towards an amicable relationship happened when the District and Beecher Bay reached out to each other as friends and as neighbours rather than as governments.

“In more of a casual way than as a strictly formal protocol-driven way. It fits really well with the way that Metchosin council works and the way that Beecher Bay council works,” she noted.

“The [land deal] couldn’t have happened unless we’d built this relationship over the years.”

Milne also points to a joint council meeting just prior to Metchosin’s January referendum on the land swap as a watershed moment for the friendship, which saw many Metchosinites show support for the Nation.

“Our residents really did buy into this whole new relationship,” she said.

Storytelling, Elder Witnessing, performances from school children and kids activities will highlight the event, which also features a salmon barbecue. The communities will also exchange official flags, which Milne says is possibly a first for Canada, as neither the province or the federal government has been able to answer any questions about protocol.

“We’re breaking new ground in a lot of ways here,” she said.

Beecher Bay was unavailable for comment before the Gazette’s press deadline.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter: @joelgazette

Just Posted

Disturbing sexual, criminal trends with Greater Victoria youth on the rise

Family counsellors see unprecedented rise in youth sexual assaults and exploitation of children

Russell Books marks opening of new location by setting Guiness World Record

Store stacks world record books more than six metres high

Petition calls on province to cover transfer fees after Island adoption centre closes – again

‘Choices clients weren’t told the ship was sinking,’ says would-be parent

PHOTOS: 11th annual Gingerbread Showcase comes to Victoria

Bakers spent more than 100 hours perfecting their creations

UPDATED: Goldstream Avenue re-opens after gas leak in Langford

Nearby schools not impacted by the closure

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

Most Read