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Former Nanaimo Indian Hospital lands returned to B.C. First Nation

Canadian government and Snuneymuxw announce ‘historic interim land reconciliation agreement’
Land where Nanaimo Indian Hospital used to be situated, has been returned to Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Government of Canada and Snuneymuxw announced Jan. 27. (News Bulletin file photo)

Lands on Vancouver Island, including ones that once housed the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, have been returned to Snuneymuxw First Nation.

In a press release, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada said a historic interim land reconciliation agreement will see over 80 hectares of the Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun given back to Snuneymuxw “through additions to the reserve process.”

“Snuneymuxw Chief (Michael Wyse) and council have progressive development plans for these lands, which will have great benefits for Snuneymuxw, the City of Nanaimo, and Vancouver Island University,” noted the press release. “This includes on-reserve housing, economic development, infrastructure upgrades and sustainable forestry projects, which all operate within the broader, interconnected Snuneymuxw territory.”

In the press release, Wyse said negotiations for the land have taken place since 2003. He said his mother, late-chief Viola Wyse, was among those at the negotiating table in 2009 and at that time, it was thought the lands would never become additions to reserve land, but things have changed.

“Snuneymuxw council is honoured to finalize these additions to reserve land as a tribute to our ancestors and as a commitment to serving our future generations,” Wyse said in the press release. “The path of Reconciliation we are walking alongside Crown-Indigenous Relations has proven to be a positive way forward for our people … This is our legacy and our responsibility.”

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree echoed Wyse’s sentiments.

“The return of the ‘Camp Nanaimo Lands on Te’tuxwtun’ has been a long and frustrating process, and we’re here today because of the tireless advocacy of generations of Snuneymuxw people,” Anandasangaree said in the press release. “I am committed to being a partner in supporting Snuneymuxw’s vision of building a better future for the community and beyond.”

RELATED: First Nation sees donation to aid search of Nanaimo Indian Hospital site

READ ALSO: Snuneymuxw receives 212 hectares on Mount Benson in land transfer

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