Urgent Action Needed to Protect Ancient Marpole Village and Burial Site from Destruction

Photo from recent Musqueam Nation march and rally. Credit UBCIC

Musqueam Nation is calling on the British Colombia Government to protect the burials of Musqueam ancestors at the once great Musqueam village known as c̓əsnaʔəm (commonly known as the Marpole Midden). The 4,000-year-old midden is being prepared for a residential condo development against the Musqueam Nation’s wishes.

Below: a press statement from the Musqueam Nation, dated May 10, 2012; a short video by BinahWeb Media about the ongoing struggle.

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Press Statement

Musqueam Traditional Territory, Vancouver, BC, May 10th, 2012: More than 100 Musqueam Nation members and supporters demonstrated today on the grounds of the B.C. Legislature, as a call to action to prevent the ongoing destruction of C?sna??m (commonly known as the Marpole Midden), a Musqueam Village site since the time of the great pyramids of Egypt and the resting place of many of our ancestors. Recent construction has unearthed the remains of the burials of one adult and two infants.

“The present excavation and development on this burial site – especially following the recent discovery of intact infant burials – is unconscionable,” stated Chief Ernest C. Campbell of the Musqueam Indian Band. “These acts erase our culture and our identity. We have a proposal for an interpretive centre and park, funded by Musqueam, but the provincial government has yet to respond to our offer.”

Musqueam have proposed a land swap – at no cost to taxpayers – and the creation of a public heritage park that recognizes Musqueam cultural history. While the province has recently appointed a mediator, discussions have been moving slowly, and the developer has warned that he will continue to work on the site if a resolution is not imminently found.

C?sna??m is located in and around SW Marine Drive in Vancouver within Musqueam Traditional Territory. It has been a known archaeological site for over 100 years and recognized as a Canadian Heritage Site since 1933, containing priceless artifacts and undisturbed intact burials of the Musqueam people. Musqueam are today asking British Columbians to lend their support to the Marpole Midden’s continued preservation. Please visit our site to lend your support:

Media contacts:
Howard E. Grant, Councillor
Musqueam Indian Band

Ken McGregor, Manager
Musqueam Indian Band

Short film: Marpole Musqueam Protest