Petition: Save SPAET Our Sacred Mountain

Petition: Save SPAET Our Sacred Mountain

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John Ahni Schertow
December 22, 2006
 

Here is a petition to save Spaet (Bear) Mountain. See here for background info

We ask for the full and unmitigated protection of and access to SPAET Mountain in perpetuity including all remaining sacred sites, lands, habitat and watersheds, especially our sacred cave, from further damage. We ask for the respect due and implementation of the full force and intent of pertinent international, Canadian, and British Columbian legislation. Further, the restoration of any damage to sacred sites, surrounding environment and especially the cave and karst.

We ask for all those addressed in this petition to respectfully acknowledge and accommodate Indigenous human rights as these relate to our sacred lands, spirituality, cultural practices and traditional prerogatives in ancestral territories.

I pray that others will see and be moved to understand how spirituality anchors us as Indigenous Peoples to the land and is crucial to our existence, survival and well being.

As a result of this massive destruction permitted by interrelated levels of government that condoned the over-development of formerly pristine ecosystems, our survival depends on your help.

We know it is difficult to fathom that these developers drained the waters from our sacred cave, filling it with tires and stuffing it with stumps.

Please unite and sign the petition and write to the addressees listed in this petition to stand with us for SPAET Mountain.

Hy ch qua
Cheryl Bryce
Songhees Land Manager
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Go to the petition

SPAET Mountain, Victoria British Columbia, Canada

My name is Cheryl Bryce, I am a member of the Songhees Nation and the Lands Manager. My late Mom, Audrey Bryce (nee George) is Songhees and my dad John R. Bryce is not First Nations – he supports my work and this issue. My late grandma Edna George (nee Norris) is Songhees she is originally from Lyackson and my late grandfather Frank George is Songhees. It is their teachings that carrying me on my path and keeping me doing all I can to protect our way of life and rights. I am grateful and thankful to have this passed on to me and our family. I do not have an Indian name yet. In the meantime an elder from Songhees has nicknamed me shup shup. This name means ancient spirit bird that glows in the dark.

The Stand for SPAET Mountain was in protest as measures to ensure its protection failed. On November 16, 2006 the Stand was the final effort to stop the developer from removing the top of the cave and do further damage to the site.

All avenues and processes to preserve and protect sacred sites on SPAET (Bear) Mountain were defied requiring the need for a protest to raise public awareness BEFORE the developer carried out plans to DESTROY the sacred cave site.

ALL efforts to ensure due process were to be conducted failed at several levels, in particular, the failure of the BC Archeology Branch’s Section 4 of the Heritage Act which should have, but did not enforce, the protection of SPAET Mountain sacred cave and surrounding culturally sacred sites. In practice the BC Archaeology Branch use policies that do not implement protection of sacred sites. Instead, the failure of enforcement of policies gave license to the developers to destroy significant heritage sites and watershed systems.

Even the “Truce” after the Stand for SPAET Mountain protest failed to enact sufficient action to preserve these sites. Instead, First Nations leaders were railroaded into questionable ‘economic development’ negotiations with the developers, further distracting and clouding the real issues – full protection and enforcement of protection for First Nations’ sacred sites. During a two-week truce, at First Nations longhouse discussions, developer Len Barrie vowed that the cave would be protected. He reneged.

We are asking for concerned citizens and supporters of First Nations rights to join us in signing this petition which we hope will address the immediate issues of sacred sites, environment and restoration of damaged sites on SPAET and the deeper and wider issues of:

1.) Amending the British Columbia Heritage Conservation Act (HCA) and BC Archaeology Branch policies to ensure that First Nation communities rights are implemented in the enforcement of the HCA and policies regarding protection of First Nations sacred sites and Archaeology sites are enacted and fully enforced, and

2.) Engage in full, meaningful consultation with and accommodation of First Nations cultural practice through entrenched policies, including access to significant sites and lands inherent in cultural expression, to safeguard traditional ways of living with the land.

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