Our neighbourhood of Fairfield Gonzales is located on the traditional, unceded (never surrendered) territories of the Lkwungen (Songhees) peoples. Recognizing the violence of this colonialism is a first step toward healing individuals & communities and is a critical part of demonstrating respect for the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia, the traditional stewards of this land. Our Centre acknowledges this is a current, active state requiring thought, respect and participation, rather than a token note of past history. By living here, working here and using the resources of this place we all participate in this experience. Rather than claim to have the answers needed to create a harmonious, sustainable, healthy community, we prefer to challenge ourselves with questions:
What are the obligations to the people who first inhabited this land?
How do settlers on this land figure out what their responsibilities are?
How can we be good guests here?
How can we support existing local struggles?
And how can we support indigenous self determination in the longer term?
This kind of dialogue around inclusion, representation, participation, respect and action are vital for all communities to thrive.