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Tsawwassen First Nation celebrates Treaty Day

Invited guests gathered April 3 to mark 15th anniversary

On Wednesday, April 3, members of the Tsawwassen First Nation, staff and invited guests gathered to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Tsawwassen Treaty.

On April 3, 2009, the Treaty came into force, marking an historical partnership amongst Tsawwassen First Nation, the Government of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada.

Since that day, Treaty Day has become an important annual celebration for TFN and their Treaty partners to mark their success as a self-governing Nation and to come together in the spirit of collaboration.

This year’s event began in the afternoon at the TFN Sports Field, with the unveiling of a house post carved by TFN artist Karl Morgan. House posts hold much significance in Coast Salish culture, representing the connection between the community and the land and reminding the Tsawwassen People that they are home. The newest house post is based on the legend of Princess Tsawwassa – a wise, strong, and beautiful woman who challenged social norms and used her knowledge of the land and sea to become the first female Chief of the Tsawwassen ancestral territory.

In her welcoming remarks, Chief Laura Cassidy noted: “By sharing this legend, we honour the women who defied social expectations and stepped into unconventional roles, becoming empowered community leaders who continue to enrich the lives in our nation daily. Our commitment to Tsawwassen art and ceremony encapsulates the spirit of our people. Our ancestors are looking upon us with pride as we keep our culture thriving for generations to come.”

Following the unveiling, guests were invited to an open house at the TFN Youth Centre with activities and refreshments.

In the evening, celebrations took place inside the Tsawwassen Long House, led by guest Speaker Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish First Nation.

Cassidy was blanketed with a Chieftain blanket hand woven by Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow, and the members of the Executive Council and Legislature were blanketed with commercial replicas of the Chieftain blanket design. The ceremony was witnessed by many TFN Members and staff, representatives from neighbouring First Nations, and invited guests including Premier David Eby, Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, and Delta Mayor George Harvie, as well as senior staff from the provincial and federal governments, representatives from Metro Vancouver, City of Delta staff, and staff from TFN’s commercial, industrial, and organizational partners.

After the blanketing ceremony, guests were invited to share a meal. Following dinner, Eby, Qualtrough, and TFN’s Interim CAO, former Chief Kim Baird, shared some reflections on the 15-year anniversary with everyone.

B.C. and Canada were gifted with carvings featuring traditional spindle-whorl designs created by Coun. Bryce Williams. Chief Cassidy and Executive Council also received gifts from Qualtrough, and Delta Mayor and Metro Vancouver Chair George Harvie.

The celebrations wrapped up with closing words from Coun. Taylor Baker and Cassidy.

It was a wonderful way to celebrate all that Tsawwassen First Nation has achieved in the last 15 years.