ADVISORY: Heiltsuk greets Canada C3 expedition with reconciliation agenda

Friday, October 6, 2017 (Bella Bella, Heiltsuk Territory) – Media are advised that the Canada C3 Expedition will visit Bella Bella on Monday, October 9, as it nears the end of its 150-day journey.

Reconciliation has been a theme since the beginning of the voyage, which began in Toronto on June 1, with Heiltsuk Councillor Leona Humchitt aboard. The trip ends in Victoria on October 28, 2017.

“The Heiltsuk word for reconciliation is ‘haíɫcístut’, meaning to turn something around and make it right again,” says Councillor Humchitt. “If there’s one thing the first 150 years of Canada has taught me, it’s that reconciliation is the only path forward. With so much history behind us, and some formidable challenges ahead, the time has come to pull together.”

While in Heiltsuk Territory, voyagers will visit Triquet Island, an ancient Heiltsuk village site. Earlier this year, archaeological research reaffirmed Heiltsuk oral history and 2015 Declaration of Rights and Title when carbon dating of tools revealed the site was over 14,000 years old. (For reference, the pyramids of ancient Egypt and ruins of ancient Rome date back approximately 5,000 and 2,000 years, respectively.)

“‘Canada’ is only 150 years old, but the Heiltsuk way of life dates back over 14,000 years,” says Hereditary Chief Harvey Humchitt, who will be joining the expedition as it travels to Rivers Inlet. “Our traditional knowledge, our culture, and our people have a lot to offer Canada in the next 150 years, if it will listen.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to engage in a range of community discussions, share meals, and participate in activities, all aiming to promote an active approach to reconciliation and cultural exchange.

“Provincially and federally there is much talk about reconciliation, but little action,” says Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett. “Talk of inclusion, support, and respect alone will not build the healthy communities and healthy economies reconciliation is made of. Including, supporting, and respecting us will.”



Kairos Blanket Exercise, Monday, October 9 at 1 p.m.

Leona Humchitt, Heiltsuk Tribal Councillor, participated in the Kairos Blanket Exercise as a passenger on Leg 1 of the Canada C3 Expedition, and is part of the team that will deliver the exercise in Bella Bella. The exercise is an interactive learning experience, led by a narrator who casts participants as Indigenous people, and guides them through scenarios typical of the pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization, and resistance periods. Learn more about the exercise and Cllr. Humchitt’s experience here.

Cultural exchange, Monday, October 9 at 3 p.m.

An open cultural exchange between Heiltsuk members, their guests, and local community members will follow a public address by a representative of Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department.

Community basketball match, Wednesday, October 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Since the 90s, basketball has figured prominently in Heiltsuk life, with the women and men’s teams competing annually in regional and national competitions. This week, a team of the Heiltsuk’s finest players will square off against Canada C3 voyagers before they embark on the final leg of their journey.

Triquet Island, Heiltsuk Territory, Thursday, October 12

Earlier this year, B.C. archaeologists and Heiltsuk partners excavated a settlement on Triquet Island, in Heiltsuk territory. Carbon dating revealed that up to 14,000 years ago, the site was inhabited by Heiltsuk ancestors. The discovery scientifically reaffirms the Heiltsuk’s long-standing claim to the territory.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please email media (at) heiltsuk (dot) ca. 

For a complete schedule of community events, click here.

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