Today, the Legislative Assembly passed Bill 18, the Haida Nation Recognition Act, marking a historic moment for our province and its journey towards reconciliation.
We were honoured to be joined in the House today by several members of the Haida Nation, who have worked tremendously hard to see this day come. It was wonderful to be able to share some words on this special occasion, and celebrate as a family.
HÍSW̱ḴE SIÁM. Gaagwiis, Hereditary and Elected Chiefs, Elders, Matriarchs: SȾHENEP TŦE NE SNÁ, my name is SȾHENEP from the W̱SÁNEĆ territory. I just want to say a brief few words here and thank you for your powerful statements in the legislative chamber here today.
I just want to say that I’m very grateful for the Haida Nation. I raise my hands to you. I raise my hands to your past leaders, your current leaders, and I raise my hands to your future leaders, who have already got on the record here.
The political and legal work that has been done on behalf of all Indigenous people across this country by the Haida is inexplicable. It’s hard to explain the impact that your work has done for all of us — for all our relatives.
With that, I raise my hands in immense gratitude to you. You are, indeed, here today as a result of that incredible and powerful display of patience, long suffering and leadership. I often talk about how some of the most remarkable leaders in this country are leaders of Indigenous communities, often doing more with the least.
Gaagwiis, your statements here today demonstrated a real grounding and sense of purpose. I think that that’s what we see in our Indigenous leaders. I really thank you for your words. I raise my hands in gratitude to all the Haida, and I look forward to, as my colleagues have said, working alongside you, Nation to Nation, in order to build a better province.
This is, indeed, a day of celebration for the Haida people and the Haida Nation, but it is also a day of celebration for the province of British Columbia, as we demonstrate the work that we’ve done here in terms of reconciliation through the Declaration Act and the many steps that have been taken in maturation of this institution. I am so grateful to be here during this process, and I am so grateful that you’re here with us. With that, I just take my seat.