By Roy L Hales
Around thirty people landed on Grace Islet Tuesday. Regardless of whether they went above the high water mark and were legally “trespassing”or not, the Grace Islet landing reminiscent of Gandhi’s civil disobedience campaigns.
The provincial government’s decision to let someone build a house on the First Nation’s Burial ground at Grace Islet draws attention to the fact First Nations burial grounds receive very different treatment than colonial graves.
The unfairness of BC’s legislation, coupled with the governments unwillingness to act, calls for action.
The Capital Regional District (CRD) may vote to expropriate Grace Islet on August 13.
Victoria City Councillor and CRD Director Ben Isitt has put up an online petition, which he will present to the CRD at that meeting. Anyone wishing to add their signature may do so by clicking on this link.
Regardless of how the CRD vote goes, BC still has one set of burial laws for colonial graves and very different regulations for First Nations Burial sites (like Grace Islet).
In Gandhi’s case, non-violent resistance to Britain’s unjust laws let to India’s independence.
Hopefully, the protests at Grace Islet will lead to the islets expropriation and further communication between the First Nations and European communities of BC.
In the video below, Cowichn elder Luschiim (Arvid Charlie) explains the significance of Grace Islet & Ganges harbour during a special ceremony held on the islet.
(Image & video above made by Bill Warriner of Salt Spring Live)