Government Commitments

Government Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation

Vancouver permanently erects flags for Indigenous Host Nations in Stanley Park

May 17, 2023

The move is part of a 100-year vision for the park.

The City of Vancouver has permanently erected flags for the Host Nations in Stanley Park.City of Vancouver

NationTalk: For the first time ever, the local Host Nations’ flags will be permanently raised in Vancouver.

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As of Tuesday (May 16), flags representing the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations are on display in Stanley Park at Spapəy̓əq Pápiy̓eḵ, commonly known as Brockton Point.

The decision to make the flags a permanent fixture was made in collaboration with the Host Nations and the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation as part of the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group.

The City of Vancouver recently adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a road map for a meaningful relationship between the City and the three Host Nations according to Chief Jen Thomas of Tsleil-Waututh Nation who says that “the raising of səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nation’s flag, alongside the flags of our relatives Squamish and Musqueam, at spapəy̓əq Pápiy̓eḵ is a step towards reconciliation.”

Flags absent from Brockton Point since 2017

In 2017, the Park Board removed three flag poles displaying the Canadian, British Columbian, and Union Jack flags at Brockton Point, due to aging infrastructure and safety issues but after noting the prevelance of such flags in Stanley Park and throughout the city, the Stanley Park Intergovernmental Working Group decided to replace the flags with those of the Host Nations.

“I am a direct descendant of the last Indigenous residents of Stanley Park,” says Chief Wayne Sparrow of Musqueam Indian Band. “The violent and destructive removal of my family from their home at spapəy̓əqm is part of our history. The city’s Park Board was instrumental in deeming us ‘squatters’ and burning our ancestral villages to the ground. [Tuesday’s] raising of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh flags at Brockton Point is a significant milestone in establishing a new relationship between Indigenous peoples and the Park Board and ensuring the truth is remembered.” 

‘Our people are deeply connected to these lands and waters’

The new flags were approved last year and put into place in a private ceremony earlier this week, in a move that represents a small step in acknowledging the Nations’ connection to the area.

“The raising of our flags today is another way to demonstrate to the outside world that our people are deeply connected to these lands and waters,” says Wilson Williams (Sxwíxwtn) of Squamish Nation. “Raising these flags encourages the broader community to learn more about our history, culture and traditions. We have always been here, and we will always be here. These flags clearly represent that this is the shared territories of our three Nations.”

The Stanley Park Intergovernmental Committee and Working Group is putting together a 100-year vision for the area that integrates local Indigenous Nations’ protocols and teachings into the park planning, design, and management. Part of this plan is increasing visibility of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh in the park.

Allie Turner