On October 23, 600 members of BC’s First Nations and Chinese communities are sitting down together in Vancouver at a banquet to honour their respective histories in British Columbia and celebrate shared experiences.
Today, October 15, the City of Vancouver is acknowledging this special event by issuing a Proclamation that October 23rd be declared a Day of Reconciliation with the First Nations.
CANADIANS FOR RECONCILIATION
Contact: Bill Chu
INVITATION TO MEDIA:
Event: CFR to receive a special Proclamation from the City of Vancouver (declaring October 23rd, 2004 to be a Day of Reconciliation with First Nations)
Date: October 15 (Friday)
Location: Mayor’s office, Vancouver City Hall
Who will be there:
– Bill Chu, founder of CFR, MCAGE,CCIA
– Bill Lightbown, Board member of Aboriginal Healing Foundation, founder of United Native Nations
– Chief Bob Joseph, Indian Residential School Survivor Society
Background: CFR has been the driving force behind a historic banquet to happen in Chinatown on October 23, 2004. This is a meeting with a targeted 600 participants from the First Nations, Chinese-Canadian and Canadian communities. It is historic in the sense that a re-union of two cultures at such a communal scale has not been attempted during the last century. It is also not about us but about raising fund and awareness for last year’s fire and flood victims in the aboriginal communities. It is about elders and scholar telling stories and reminding new immigrants the relationship between First People and earlier Chinese to BC, a piece of history which is almost lost. It is also about celebrating over a decade of journey of reconciliation with the First people for some. For the Christians involved in the planning, it is about an attempt to heal the wounds of a hurt relationship with the First People.
Behind the banquet is the spirit and hope to seek reconciliation for Canadians. A banquet is simply an outward symbol of the journey, not the destination itself. So we are thankful that the City of Vancouver is acknowledging this special event by issuing a Proclamation that October 23rd be declared a Day of Reconciliation with the First Nations. We hope their leadership will set the pace for other Canadian cities to follow, and set the direction towards reconciliation for the communities as we move towards the 2010 Winter Olympics. Like the reconciliation movement in Australia that began years before their 2000 summer Olympic Games (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/orgs/car/), such movement in history needs people and organizations to nurture. So we are thankful to the City of Vancouver as well as a growing list (twenty five now) of endorsements from a wide range of grassroots organizations:
Aboriginal Mothers Center Society
B.C. ALPHA (Association for Learning & Preserving the History of WWII in Asia)
BC Elders Communication Center Society
Canadian Chinese Business Development Association
Canadian Council of Muslim Communities
Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver
Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society
Chinese Christians In Action
Chinese Free Mason of Vancouver
City In Focus
First Nations Summit
Grandview Calvary Baptist Church
Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens Association
Lower Mainland Aboriginal Veteran Association
Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia
National Aboriginal Veteran Association
St. Chiara Community
Social Concern Committee of Vancouver Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship
The Green Party of British Columbia
Union of BC Indian Chiefs
nited Native Nations
Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society
Vancouver Native Health Society
Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
A Coast Salish and Chinese design poster for the banquet can be download from Banquet Poster.
There has been a very positive response from the First Nation communities. First People are coming in good numbers from as far as Kamloops, Merritt, Lilloeet Lake, Mount Currie, Cheam, Seabird Island, etc. The Squamish First Nation has offered to send a delegation to open the evening with welcome song and prayer. Together with dignitaries from major First Nation organizations and the Chinese responding in songs, the banquet will be one heart-warming, ceremonial, celebrative and colorful event. So in more than one sense, your assistance in reporting in this exciting proclamation and its background to those in Vancouver and beyond will be appreciated by generations to come.
CANADIANS FOR RECONCILIATION is a peaceful non-partisan grassroots movement committed to developing a new relationship with aboriginal people, one that signifies a deep apology for past injustice, a willingness to honor truth now and a resolve to embrace each other in the new millennium.