Our Leadership Statement on First Nations Relations
For thousands of years, the Lekwungen Peoples have lived and prospered in the area known today as Greater Victoria. They hunted, gathered, and fished in their traditional lands long before settlers arrived and recognized Victoria as a strategic trading post.
Today, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) manages properties in the heart of Lekwungen territory – the Victoria Cruise Ship Terminal, Steamship Terminal, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Causeway, Ship Point, Wharf Street, and Johnson Street marinas.
GVHA was established with the belief that First Nations knowledge and participation must be integrated into the foundation of our work. We are proud to have had have representatives of the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation on our Board of Directors since our inception in 2002, providing key input and feedback on strategic business and policy decisions.
In 2005, we developed our five Guiding Principles, which guide the actions and decisions of GVHA. One of these five principles is our commitment to developing and fostering First Nations Relationships:
We commit to working in partnership with the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation as they pursue their cultural and economic aspirations in the harbour.
Over the last decade, we have tried, often succeeded, and sometimes failed with different initiatives aimed at realizing our commitment. Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to this guiding principle. We want to ensure that our efforts are meaningful and provide lasting benefits to Indigenous communities. We want to fully realize our commitment to work in partnership with the Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation and play a role in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
As such, we are proud to announce our participation in the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program. We look forward to demonstrating our commitment to this program through our actions and decisions in the coming months, years, and well into the future.
GVHA was conceived with Indigenous relations in its core mandate. The organization has shown continued effort to engage, involve and support the efforts of Songhees and Esquimalt Nations as it relates to the harbour. PAR certification will ensure ongoing improvement and will demonstrate GVHA’s leadership in indigenous relations.Christina Clarke, Songhees Nation