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Mission, B.C. and the province sign land deal with local First Nations

Click to play video: 'Province, Mission and three local First Nations ink historic land deal deal' Province, Mission and three local First Nations ink historic land deal deal
A step towards reconciliation Wednesday as the province, the city of Mission and three local First Nations inked a historic land deal. Under the "Together we Paddle" agreement the province will return 60 hectares of crown lands to the Leq'á:mel, Matsqui, Sumas First Nations – Jul 21, 2021

The province, City of Mission and three local First Nations inked a historic land deal.

The agreement, named Í:xel Sq’eq’ó, a Hul’qumi’num, a phrase that translates into English as “Together We Paddle,” sees the province return 60 hectares of Crown land to the LMS Society, which represents the Leq’á:mel, Matsqui and Sumas First Nations. The land will be subdivided to create a community park that will be leased and managed by the city. There will also be a housing development.

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B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin called the agreement a step in the journey toward reconciliation.

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I don’t know of any other example where we’ve achieved protection of the values, the fabulous landscape that’s behind us, as well as providing land for much-needed housing for the community and economic development in the future is positive in every single way and I’m proud that British Columbia can be paddling together,” he said.

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“Together, we have set the scene for a day in which our children and the children of Mission can grow, laugh and play together, acknowledging the truth about our history and looking forward to a brighter future,” Matsqui Chief Alice McKay said.

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The lands being transferred are adjacent to the grounds of the former St. Mary’s Residential School.

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A plan is being developed to maintain the natural character of the area, protect sensitive environmental elements, enhance cultural and historic understanding, and guide improvements over time.

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