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Letter to the Prime Minister

March 24, 2000

The Right Honourable Jean Chretien
Prime Minister
Room 309-S Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister

We write to express our concern over the paving over of Tseycum First Nation burial grounds at the Victoria airport. We feel that that you will agree that such actions are a n affront to any peoples sense of the sacred and especially sacrilegious given the nature of First Nations teachings re burial sites.

The Tseycum have been trying to get this issue resolved for several years without success. While negotiations are still ongoing, we feel that the matter needs to be expedited in order that justice be done for all concerned.

The day has long since gone when First Nations concerns and teachings could be given little credence and low priority. It the Department of Transport needs more documentation, we suggest that they finance a research project and work jointly with the Tseycum to secure such further facts and evidence as may be reasonably necessary to setting a foundation for a fair and just settlement.

For us the issue is relatively simple: the Department has paved over sacred burial sites. A fair and honourable settlement is clearly needed with all due dispatch, a settlement that demonstrates respect for First Nations teachings, values, and traditional territories.

We attach a copy of a letter that we sent to the Regional Director, Mr. Langan, expressing our concerns and indicating our sense of what factors might well be part of a just settlement. We have not as yet had a reply.

We ask you to indicate your support for a speedy and honourable settlement, one that is befitting of the Crown's representatives and their fiduciary duty to protect the interests of First Nations peoples, their territories and their values.

Yours truly,

Keith Jobson for
The Aboriginal Rights Coalition (Victoria)

cc. The Hon. David Michael Collenette