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City News & Announcements

Posted on: November 25, 2019

City and Museum apologize to Semiahmoo First Nation for 1990s’ incident

City of White Rock - logo

In a private ceremony on Nov. 21, 2019, the City of White Rock and the White Rock Museum and Archives apologized to the Semiahmoo First Nation for an incident that took place in the 1990s.

The Semiahmoo First Nation and the White Rock Museum and Archives made an agreement in the 1970s that the Museum would manage the Semiahmoo artifacts from St. Anne’s Church. The artifacts were displayed for a number of years and then put into storage. It was discovered in the 1990s that the larger pieces, stored at Centennial Arena, were missing and could not be located.

Facts about the City of White Rock and Semiahmoo First Nation

  • The City of White Rock is committed to rebuilding its relationship with the Semiahmoo First Nation. This relationship is considered an immediate priority of White Rock’s 2018-2022 Council Strategic Priorities.
  • In 2019, there were five Council-to-Council meetings with White Rock Council and the Semiahmoo First Nation Council. Two of the meetings were held with a facilitator hired through the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
  • The City of White Rock and the Semiahmoo First Nation are working on items related to services, including drainage, water and sanitary sewer. Representatives working on behalf of the Semiahmoo First Nation are working with city staff to create a Communication Protocol and Memorandum of Understanding.
  • The City of White Rock and the Semiahmoo First Nation are collaborating on events. The city held a ceremony to recognize the Semiahmoo First Nation on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2019. In August 2019, the City of White Rock and the Semiahmoo First Nation jointly presented the 70th Anniversary of the White Rock Sea Festival.
  • The City of White Rock is grateful to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell for serving as the Committee Vice-Chair of the City of White Rock’s History and Heritage Advisory Committee, helping to share information about the Semiahmoo First Nation with the White Rock community.

Quotes

White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker

“The City of White Rock and the White Rock Museum and Archives have apologized to the people of the Semiahmoo First Nation for an incident that took place in the 1990s. We shared our heartfelt regret in a ceremony that honours the traditions of the Semiahmoo First Nation.

We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Semiahmoo First Nation, rebuilding our relationship and developing a deep and lasting trust.”  

Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell

“We, as Semiahmoo leadership, are very pleased to begin a positive process solidified in ceremony and facilitated by the City of White Rock and the White Rock Museum and Archives. 

 Our ceremonies are the foundation to reconciling unfortunate, historic wrongs. The Semiahmoo people are invested in, and excited about, a renewed relationship both with the City of White Rock and with the White Rock Museum and Archives.” 

Karin Bjerke-Lisle, Executive Director,
White Rock Museum and Archives
“We cannot replace the artifacts that have been lost, but we can treasure and protect the Semiahmoo First Nation artifacts in our care. We can also ensure that we share the rich and vibrant history of the Semiahmoo First Nation with the people who live in White Rock and our many visitors through exhibits at the White Rock Museum and Archives.”  

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