100 signatures reached
To: Saanich Council
Let’s tell the truth about our history at Cadboro Bay
Our goal: a new sign at Cadboro Bay that tells the truths of colonization
We ask that the District of Saanich contact the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to collaborate on a new historical sign at Cadboro-Gyro Park that tells the true history of colonization at Cadboro Bay.
The current sign is titled “History of Cadboro-Gyro Park.” It describes “European Settlement,” skirting around the realities of colonization that have significantly impacted the Indigenous Lekwungen peoples and the unique ecosystems at Cadboro Bay. The only sentence mentioning Indigenous peoples states, “the Cadboro Bay shoreline was home to the Coast Salish peoples, and a number of archeological sites exist along the shoreline.” Though this is true, the sign gives recent details of only the settler history of the area: the bay’s namesake being a Hudson’s Bay Company ship, and the development of the land into farms, residences, and a hotel, before becoming a recreational park. This storying of Cadboro Bay’s “History” leaves out processes of colonization: how development desecrated important sites, confined Indigenous peoples to reserves, and how culturally, ecologically important ecosystems have been degraded. By labeling the existing sign as the “History of Cadboro-Gyro Park” and distinguishing it from the other informational sign titled “Lkwungen Tung’exw,” the Coast Salish history of the area is minimized and relegated to the distant past.
Here is what we would like to see on a new sign:
• With these colonial developments, Songhees and Esquimalt, as descendants of the Chekonein family, lost use of their Cadboro Bay village site.
• Garry Oak associated wetlands were destroyed with the development that came with colonization. These wetlands are important ecosystems for migratory birds and other species, and provide crucial ecosystem services.
• Cadboro Bay was a special place for early Black settlers, who held picnics here to commemorate Emancipation Day in the 1850s (Mollineaux, 1999).
Why is this important?
Ultimately, locals and visitors who read the current Cadboro Bay signs as their only knowledge of the site are missing pieces of its history. We believe that updating this sign will promote truthful conversations about our colonial past and present, and plant seeds for a decolonial future.