The Cowichan Station Area Association acknowledges that our community is located on the traditional lands and unceded territory of the Quw’utsun’ people. We are deeply grateful to live in this place, which as unceded territory still rightfully belongs to the people who have been keepers of these lands since time immemorial.
We understand the importance of truth before reconciliation. We recognize that Cowichan Station was established as a settler community that displaced and gravely disrupted the lives of the Quw’utsun’ people. We recognize that this is part of a colonial history that has caused great and ongoing harm to First Nation peoples in and beyond this place that we call home. We recognize also that we bear the responsibility for doing all that we can to work toward reconciliation and understanding between cultures, in the hope of building a better future for us all.
With this in our minds and our hearts, we commit to:
- Learning about ways in which the Quw’utsun’ people have lived and continue to live in interrelationship with these lands. We seek to live in harmony with the land, and we respect and honour the wisdom of First Nation peoples in helping us to achieve this.
- Consulting with Cowichan Tribes before undertaking any developments on the land that could disturb any culturally significant spaces, and working together to ensure that any potential disturbance is avoided or mitigated. We will also continue to offer space and time to listen and to ensure that First Nations voices are heard and all voices respected.
- Doing all that we can to build strong relationships with the Quw’utsun’ and other First Nation peoples and to ensuring recognition of the contribution that the wisdom of indigenous values makes to a more sustainable, inclusive society for all.
We recognize that there are many ways to learn from First Nation peoples and many opportunities to do so. First Nation knowledge keepers and their communities have shown great generosity in sharing their wisdom and knowledge with us and in welcoming us to witness, to learn, and to stand in solidarity with them. As individuals and as an organization, we have already greatly benefitted from this generosity. For this and much else, we are immensely grateful and we accept the responsibility that this gift represents.
Thank you, Huy tseep q’u
Cowichan Station lies wholly within the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people who have been living here since time immemorial.
Cowichan Station lies within the E & N railway corridor where land was pre-empted* from First Nations in the late 1800’s. The governments of Canada and BC gave more than 800,000 hectares of land to the E&N Railway Company to help finance it. About one-third—almost 270,000 hectares—was Hul’qumi’num land, a vast section of southeastern Vancouver Island. For the Hul’qumi’num peoples, the deal marked the beginning of a gradual, unremitting decline in their economic, cultural and social well-being, in which they witnessed the loss of most of their land and resources—almost 85 percent.
Read more about this history in this document from the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group.
*Pre-emption was a method of acquiring provincial Crown land by claiming it for settlement and agricultural purposes. You can learn more here.