Victoria Native Friendship Centre bequeathed a spectacular property in Oak Bay

Victoria Native Friendship Centre bequeathed a spectacular property in Oak Bay
WatchTwo years ago, she gave her property on the Koksilah River in Cowichan to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Now, Marion Cumming has bequeathed the centre her home and large property in Oak Bay.

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Marion Cumming, along with her late husband Bruce, has a deep, strong conviction that they want to share with all Canadians.

“There’s such a sense of inequality in the world, and yet there’s also a sense that we’re all family, and with a home like this, to serve more than one person, now that I’m a widow, it just seems so natural,” says Cumming.

Cumming is referring to her home, and just under an acre of property, located in southern Oak Bay, which she has bequeathed to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

“They shared the land with us, it’s quite natural to want to give it back” she explains.

This is the third property Marion and Bruce have returned to Indigenous people. In 1992 the Cummings gave their 282-acre farm to a First Nation in New Brunswick. Two years ago, after becoming widowed, she gave their property on the Koksilah River in Cowichan to the Friendship Centre.

Ron Rice, Executive Director of the Friendship Centre, is hugely moved by Cumming’s gift.  “For her to trust us with the legacy of her and her husband Bruce, it’s important to us to honour her legacy and to honour her life’s work, and her love, and carry it forward in perpetuity.

“We’re trying to be strategic about what we might be able to do in these homes and on these properties. The one in Cowichan station, once we sort of ‘get back to normal,’ we’re looking at it for retreat space for our youth groups; for our Awakening the Warrior Within, which is our men’s group for men who participate in domestic violence; as cultural space for weaving, or fish preparation or anything like that.  The one in Oak Bay is going to be a little bit more challenging because we have different bylaws to adhere to, but we’re looking at different ideas around ‘artist in residence,’ an ‘academic in residence,’ and as retreat space for some of our board meetings and things like that.”

Veronica Cooper has more in this week’s episode of Vital People.

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