August 2 is the 150th anniversary of Victoria’s incorporation. In the weeks before, all natives had been expelled from Victoria and their houses burned. The colonial regime of James Douglas had decided natives would be allowed to remain in the European settlement only if a settler certified that they had employment.
The last three months have been busy! I’ve published 2 books, The Great Darkening project has made the news and I’ve created some exciting treats to share with everyone on ShawnSwanky.com. Let me bring everyone up to speed.
The ongoing legacy of the unconstitutional seizure of British Columbia from its indigenous peoples can be found everywhere around us today. Today I visited the Musqueam camp at the Marpole Midden on SW Marine Drive near the Arthur Laing Bridge in Vancouver. Indigenous people have occupied this strategic site at the mouth of the Fraser River for at least 4000 years. It has been long recognized as a Canadian Heritage site containing a priceless cultural record along with some undisturbed intact burials of the Musqueam people.
At about 9:00pm on July 4, 1862, Francis Poole and eight men from what had begun as a party of 40 straggled into Ft. Alexandria in the geographic center of colonial British Columbia. Poole would say in his memoir that his party had been in hourly dread of attack by “hostile savages,” that one of his party had been killed by the Tsilhqot’in and that his party left a “sorrowful trail of blood.”