Saturday, May 05, 2007

Couple To Return Land Back To Native Canadians

When Bruce and Marion Cumming of BC, Canada pass on, they will donate their Oak Bay home, worth more than $1,000,000 to the local Native Canadian Xaxe Tenew Sacred Land Society. Influenced by the Oka crisis in Quebec back in 1990, the Cummings are deeply offended by the injustice and treatment of Canada's native people.

"All over the world, native land has been usurped," Ms. Cumming said. Her husband added, "...we're trying to do something at a personal level, instead of perpetuating the colonial stand of the white settlers."

The home, which has views of sacred Mount Baker and Juan de Fuca Strait, will be used as a cultural and educational centre. "They are very kind and generous people," said Charles Elliot, a Native Canadian Salish art carver. "They have a deep understanding of what first nations people are up against, about the loss of our lands and our resources."

There is only one other known case in Canada where land has similarly been returned to Native Canadians and it's by the Cummings themselves, who gave their 288-acre New Brunswick farm to the local Native Canadian Maliseet people in 1992. The farm included three buildings, 280 acres of forest and half a kilometre of shoreline on the Nashwaak River. Today it is a healing and cultural centre operated by the Wolastokwiyik Nawicowok On the Land Program.

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