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c̓əsnaʔəm - The province has finally weighed in on protection of the sacred Musqueam grave site dug up by a condo developer in South Vancouver. But the BC Liberals didn't bother telling the Musqueam.
After more than two months of protests at the site, the provincial government has now ordered construction permanently halted at the spot where intact burials were discovered. A permit amended by the province orders developer Lan Pro Holdings to return one small section of the property - where the graves were actually desecrated - to close to their "original condition." It does not refer to the rest of the Marpole Midden site where the condo project is located.
The permit change was announced Friday, but the Musqueam only found out through the media. Musqueam Mary Point says, ``we had no idea until the media calls starting pouring in for a reaction. They didn't`t tell any of us, not even the band office. We never did get the press release they sent to everyone else.``
Point says the order is a start, but only a start. "We need to protect the entire site," she says, adding that ìt makes no sense to protect one small section but not the entire burial grounds. The Musqueam have continuously occupied the midden village site for more than 4,000 years.
The Musqueam have been trying to negotiate a land swap with the developer since the first graves were disturbed in April. The province, the city, the developer and the First Nation are now scheduled to meet Tuesday to try to move negotiations along.