Port Moody recognizes contributions of First Nations on National Indigenous Peoples Day

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, Port Moody City Council would like to express their admiration for, and offer their gratitude to, the Indigenous groups on whose traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory the city of Port Moody now resides. 

This year, in light of the devastating uncovering of Indigenous children’s remains in Kamloops, City Council would also like to recognize that Indigenous families and communities are grieving for the children lost to residential school atrocities. Indigenous peoples continue to experience trauma caused by the residential school system, and the City acknowledges a collective obligation to work toward reconciliation and bring an end to the continued systemic violence toward Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

“Imagine how different – and how much better – our society would be today if the colonists of this continent chose co-operation and collaboration, rather than domination and genocide," says Mayor Vagramov. “There is so much work to be done to correct relationships with First Nations. I look forward to engaging in Council-to-Council roundtables in the fall, when we are all able to meet in person, to start this long journey here locally.” 

National Indigenous Peoples Day is held each year on June 21, which is the transformational period of the summer solstice. It is a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. 

City Council would like to take this opportunity to thank the Indigenous organizers, artists, Elders, and Knowledge Holders who are the creators of In the Presence of Ancestors, a project that reasserts the presence of the original caretakers of Coast Salish lands and waters. This project includes a variety of community engagement opportunities and will culminate in 2023 with the raising of five house posts along Port Moody’s Shoreline Trail. 

“In the Presence of Ancestors is a significant contribution to the community,” says Mayor Vagramov. “We are grateful to everyone involved with this project for building a path toward healing and reminding us of our responsibility to care for this land that we all share.” 

"Port Moody’s iconic Shoreline Trail is transforming into a path of healing, where the original caretakers majestically resume their place among these lands and waters, inviting current residents to join their legacy of ancestors and ensure a healthy future of all of our relations," says In the Presence of Ancestors artistic director Tasha Faye Evans. 

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to celebrate and learn from the strength and tenacity of the traditional stewards of the land. The City is grateful to Coast Salish Nations – including səlilwətaɬ, kʷikʷəƛ̓əm, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh úxwumixw, q̓ic̓əy̓, qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓, qiqéyt, and Nations of the S’ólh Téméxw – for their stewardship and protection of the water and the earth, and for the generosity of spirit with which they have shared some of their teachings with Port Moody residents. 

The City of Port Moody encourages all members of the community to recognize and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day in their own way. Residents can learn more about In the Presence of Ancestors at noonscreek.org, and find information and resources about National Indigenous Peoples Day on the Government of Canada’s website

For those wondering how to support grieving Indigenous communities and how to advance the process of reconciliation, here is a list of suggestions from the Indian Residential School Survivors Society:

  • learn about the impacts of the residential school system 
  • read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 calls to action 
  • contact your Member of Parliament and local officials 
  • actively listen to people of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis backgrounds 
  • stand up to stereotypes, prejudice, and systemic racism 
  • have conversations with your family and friends 
  • be respectful toward trauma survivors and Elders 
  • support Indigenous-led community organizations 
  • be patient, empathetic, and receptive 
  • raise awareness in your community and online