SFN councillor Joanne Charles, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker and Coun. David Chesney listen to welcoming remarks from Chief Harley Chappell (Xwopokton) during an event on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (File photo)

White Rock apologizes to SFN for lost artifacts

‘Heartfelt regret’ extended during private ceremony Nov. 21

Officials with the City of White Rock and the White Rock Museum and Archives have apologized to the Semiahmoo First Nation for losing artifacts that were entrusted to the city in the 1970s for safe-keeping.

Thursday evening, the city and museum “shared our heartfelt regret in a ceremony that honours the traditions of the Semiahmoo First Nation,” Mayor Darryl Walker said in a news release.

According to the release, the SFN and museum made an agreement in the 1970s for the museum to manage 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,” the release states.

Coun. Helen Fathers told Peace Arch News Thursday afternoon, prior to the ceremony, that the items included benches and pews from the church, “and things (that) were important to Semiahmoo First Nation.”

Describing their loss as a “terrible, terrible mistake”– and emphasizing that the city is not casting blame –Fathers said that the items disappeared after the fire department at the time ordered them removed from Centennial Arena because they were a fire hazard.

READ MORE: City of White Rock, museum to apologize for loss of SFN artifacts

““We cannot replace the artifacts that have been lost, but we can treasure and protect the Semiahmoo First Nation artifacts in our care,” museum executive director Karin Bjerke-Lisle said in Friday’s release.

Rebuilding the city’s relations with the SFN is “an immediate priority of White Rock’s 2018-2022 Council Strategic Priorities,” the release adds. Those efforts to date have included five council-to-council meetings in 2019, and that representatives of the SFN are working with city staff to create a “Communication Protocol and Memorandum of Understanding.”

Chief Harley Chappell is also vice-chair of the city’s history and heritage advisory committee, the release adds.

Chappell said in the release that SFN leadership is “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.”

Thursday’s ceremony was a private event for which the museum received a grant from the provincial government to host, Fathers said.

– with files from Aaron Hinks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock brewery turns up the (alcohol by) volume in COVID-19 fight

3 Dogs Brewing is making hand sanitizer for frontline workers, general public

Surrey RCMP looking for ‘distraction theft’ suspect

Suspect allegedly tried to swipe a man’s necklace while giving him a hug

Person found dead after apartment fire in White Rock

Crews called to Foster Street complex at 7:30 a.m. Monday

Cloverdale automobile shop offers to pick up, service, and drop off vehicles

Surrey’s Visscher-Pau Automotive starts ‘Blue Glove’ valet service — will cover Cloverdale, Langley, Newton, Fleetwood, and Hazelmere

1,000 food hampers packed for delivery to students of Surrey’s inner-city schools

City Dream Centre-led initiative involved volunteer effort at Horizon Church in Newton

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

Most Read

l -->