‘Unprecedented’: 102 acres of land to be returned to Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo

'Unprecedented': 102 acres of land to be returned to Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo

The Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo is celebrating what it’s calling an “unprecedented and significant” transfer of sacred land back to its people — a total of 102 acres encompassing an ancient village site.

Snuneymuxw says it will receive the land, including the village site, on Thursday in a move that supports “treaty implementation and promotes reconciliation and reclamation for the integrity of our Nation.”

CHEK News has learned that the land is located just north of Cedar Road, west of the Trans-Canada Highway, in a heavily-forested area called Kqula’xw.

Seacliff Properties is transferring the land and village back to Snuneymux after it was removed from First Nation territory 169 years ago.

The move follows the June 22, 2022, announcement of a partnership between Snuneymuxw and Seacliff — the developer behind the proposed Sandstone Project — through a Recognition, Cooperation and Mutual Benefit Agreement.

Sandstone is “a new comprehensively planned yet diverse and unique development that provides for a wide range of land uses” and sits at 726 acres in south Nanaimo, according to information posted online.

The development would offer commercial, retail and residential opportunities and has gained Official Community Plan approval, states Snuneymuxw.

“This partnership is another step forward on the road to reconciliation with the private sector and is geared to strengthen our peoples’ spiritual, cultural, social and economic connection to the Snuneymuxw village sites that are being returned to us,” said the First Nation’s Chief Mike Wyse.

The partnership also acknowledges the Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854, which focuses on their way of life, including village sites and enclosed fields.

A signing ceremony and reception is scheduled for noon on Thursday, May 18, at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre Gymnasium on Totem Road.

“We hope you will attend to witness this historic occasion and celebrate in the re-building of our land base to our territory and this opportunity to fulfill our economic potential,” added Chief Wyse.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!