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October 28, 2017 3:45 am

The Lheidli T’enneh People Are Smiling

Sunday, June 21, 2015 @ 5:40 PM
Chief Dominic Frederick is honoured with a blanket "as a reminder of a great day"  Photos 250News

Chief Dominic Frederick is honoured with a blanket “as a reminder of a great day” Photos 250News

Prince George, B.C. – The Chief of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation says he is extremely pleased with the historic events that took place in Prince George on Sunday and believes others can learn from this example.

Chief Dominic Frederick says “we’re setting the bar high just by raising the flag and re-naming a park.  I haven’t seen any flags raised by any other cities recognizing their aboriginal community.”  He says what has occurred in Prince George  will now be looked at by other Canadian communities with a view to accomplishing the same things.

What has been accomplished, with the approval of City Council, is the permanent installation of the Lheidli T’enneh flag at City Hall and the renaming of Fort Gorge Park to Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.   Both events were celebrated with enthusiasm during National Aboriginal Day festivities at the park, especially among the many wide-smiling people of native heritage who realized the significance of what has occurred.

Men's Traditional Northern dancer Kelsey Abraham performs

Men’s Traditional Northern dancer Kelsey Abraham performs

In fact Chief Frederick who, at least while officially attending public events can appear quite reserved, was cracking jokes and very obviously enjoying himself immensely at both venues.  He says discussion with the City on these matters has been going on for perhaps five years.  Asked whether that is too long he says “no, it’s never too long once you come to accomplish it.  It gets done, it’s done and we’re happy.”

Asked about the city-wide discussion that followed City Council’s approval,  Chief Frederick says “I’m a simple person, I’m a friendly guy and if people don’t understand they don’t understand.  I don’t call it ignorant because they just haven’t heard the story, they just don’t know who we are.”

“I think that was one good thing that we did was when we had the pavilion (during the Winter Games) we tried to draw everyone in  because we had everything spread out about the Lheidli T’enneh.  That really helped because a lot of the people did come in and read some of the stuff that we had there in terms of who we are.  That is what we wanted to do, we wanted to showcase Lheidli T’enneh because we’re from here, we’ve always been here and we’re not going anywhere.”

One oft-repeated argument from some citizens concerning the park renaming was the feeling of being left out of the discussion.  In fact there was no community discussion.  The main push behind the name change on council, Councilor Krause, says “the more we discussed it we didn’t know how it would take place.  At the end of the day you want to come out with something meaningful, and the more we discussed it we didn’t know how much time it would take, we didn’t know what that consultation would look like.  And so it was just decided that change is inevitable, change does happen and let’s just do it.”

Councilor Murry Krause, with Council members, speaks of reconciliation

Councilor Murry Krause, with Council members, speaks of reconciliation

Krause says “certainly there are people who have indicated they’re not happy with it, there’s people who said to me we need to agree to disagree, and there’s a whole bunch of people who said, good on Prince George.  So for those people who don’t understand I apologize, but it is the right thing to do.  Lots of people took the time to come and see me or talk to me on the telephone and they were great conversations.  Those people said to me, maybe its an opportunity for some more education.  These were people who initially weren’t supportive but, in the end said maybe its time we had better education of ourselves and our children about what happened in our community and across Canada.”  He says the province should take the lead on that educational aspect.

Chief Frederick says the City could have done more to inform people about the reasons behind the flag raising a park renaming.  “I think they could have done a better job on that (public discussion) in terms of their job as Council.  Something should of went on and we could have worked together on developing something, some pamphlet or something to put out there so people understand.”

B.C. Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad says the measures just taken in Prince George are crucial steps in the reconciliation process.  “Whether it is what we did last year with the Tsilhqot’in in recognizing that the hanging of the six chiefs and exoneration of the six chiefs, or whether it’s the step that the City of Prince George is taking in recognizing the history, this is all part  of building reconciliation and understanding one another to be able to build a future.”

“So I commend the City, it has created a conversation in the community, which I think is a good thing.  Certainly it isn’t all positive, there’s controversy around it, but that is not a bad thing because it’s part of building a conversation and understanding where we need to get to in the future.”  Rustad says he understands that some people are opposed to certain developments.  “I don’t think its about universal acceptance of what we’re trying to do or how it’s going but its about understanding the history and what we’re trying to achieve.  It’s about how do we build a future together?  We’re all here to stay, want to see prosperous communities, healthy families, how do we try to achieve that together?”

Men's Grass Dancer Ken Michel, Jr. performs under sunny sky Sunday

Men’s Grass Dancer Ken Michel, Jr. performs under sunny sky Sunday

One of the speakers Sunday was Chief Robert Joseph, the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, who said “I’m so honoured to be here this moment to witness a significant event of people coming together.  And that’s what our goal really is as a country, for all of us to be together.  I’m so proud of the City of Prince George as well.  I know that over time they have done what they have been doing, trying to improve relationships between all of us.”

“We are in a special moment in history.  We’ve been hearing narratives across this country, both legal and social, that talk about court cases like the Tsilhqot’in and the legacy of residential schools, and what that has brought us to is a point in our time where we can reflect on who we are.  We now have the opportunity to re-shape our narrative, our collective story from the colonial times to a new way forward unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.”

It was related by more than one speaker that the flag raising and park renaming, or “re-claiming” according to Councilor Krause, amount to a step forward, an important step and one that signifies progress in the effort to resolve long-standing differences.


In this day and age, what was done to the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation was a huge wrong, I think that reserves are wrong as well. Residential schools were wrong. It’s a very small thing to rename the park to us whites. But I think it’s right.

Jeez, that “grass dancer” could be dancing on one of his ancestors graves!!! The watchers could be sitting and lolling on gravesites.
I just wonder what the world would think if the residents of Prince George congregated at the Prince George cemetery to dance and party of the gravesites??
I agree-FN customs are different—but after awhile it is almost sacrilegious and I am afraid my upbringing leaves me thinking these actions are just not considered respectful in my world.
It really does not seem right! A cemetery deserves more respect.

“Asked about the city-wide discussion that followed City Council’s approval, Chief Frederick says “I’m a simple person, I’m a friendly guy and if people don’t understand they don’t understand. I don’t call it ignorant because they just haven’t heard the story, they just don’t know who we are.”
That pretty well covers it Chief, well said?

“They haven’t heard the story” exactly…it’s just a story..probably a tiny bit of truth..but we all know as stories are passed down they loose reality and facts.

P Val it must be the Bible that you are referring to ,eh

Posted on Sunday, June 21, 2015 @ 6:18 PM by Grizzly2
In this day and age, what was done to the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation was a huge wrong, I think that reserves are wrong as well. Residential schools were wrong. It’s a very small thing to rename the park to us whites. But I think it’s right.

What day and age did these wrongs occur?

No Krause it’s you that doesn’t get it, there is other history in the park not just native. You are just adding to any division. Poorly thought out and executed.

Furtree, that’s is one of many books out there that have been kind of passed on as what really happened..or even better is word of mouth..lol.. Or much lost in translation from one language to another many times..

All just stories now.

Krause is oblivious to his betrayal of the spirit of a democratic process that entails open transparency of ones agenda at election time… he in no way ran a public campaign for this issue.

Krause is guilty of monopolizing the knowledge of his agenda and its process from the greater public at large… and that is what upset most more than even the renaming of the park. Its an abuse of elected power.

Renaming the park was not done with the spirit of unity moving forward, and that is the sad thing about this whole process… its just a pendulum swing of self serving triumphalism.

If they were in the spirit of unity, then we would have had a public process in the renaming of the park that accounted for all stakeholders concerns… like historical context, how any renaming could be a unifying proposition… that didn’t happen.

I think in a few years time when this all blows over we will see another renaming that will account for the wrongs of this process in 2015. The park will likely then consider the settlers and the natives in their proper context building a common community for both. Likely long term name will be the ‘Fort George – Lheidli T’enneh Founders Park’ or something along those lines.

I think if we had a proper discussion and process in the beginning then the community would have arrived at such a common sense solution with actual buy in from all stakeholders. The conniving behind the backs of voters served a disservice for the intended purpose.

Apologies to every other race of ‘contributors’ to this fine city, who will never have their flag raised.

You have succeeded in identifying yourself as an individual with a very sick, twisted, warped mind.
I sincerely hope you are not free to roam amongst the public-as I, personally, would consider you dangerous.

There there yeahrant. Working on any law suits today crazy lady ?

Yes,matter of fact, I am Digitus Impudius.
Now, seeing as how you are so, so confident–tell us your name.
Stop hiding–be up front-and identify yourself.
Waiting to see that happen! DO IT NOW!

Two flags raised and a park renamed without the majority of public Prince George voters input and debate on the subject. Look at it this way.. The fifteen min of fame for the Lheidli (Carrier) tribe is over. Real concern and issue is now the existing council members in place at city hall.. Look at the faces of the Mayor and council members who actually showed up.. To me they look hesitant and scared, ” Councilor Murry Krause, with Council members, speaks of reconciliation” meanwhile no smiles or jubilation for thier votes. Where were the rest of our “counsilers?” Who quickly voted on this touchy subject? From what I have read and heard in the past few days Murry Krause and possible others have barred themselves from re election.. They are voted in as figureheads to work on projects and in the publics best interest.. Put ideas forward.. Then re discuss the issue with the public through open forum or information. Sounds like hidden agendas on most of Councils part.. When are the elections again for city council?

In Latin, the middle finger was the digitus impudicus, meaning the “shameless, indecent or offensive finger”. I wouldn’t argue with a person who refers to her(him)self as *obscene gesture* or outstretched middle finger!

I am not against the re-naming. However, I am somewhat disturbed by the attitude of a councillor who insists that those who do not share his opinion are simply suffering from a lack of education. With enough educational effort they will realize the error of their ways, repent and join him in his auperior wisdom. A referendum or opinion poll just to evaluate the degree of overpowering predictable ignorance out there? Heaven forbid!

It reeminds me (my own opinion) of GWB who forged ahead and put any supporters of contratory arguments into the category: “If you are not with us – you are against us.” The rest of course is history!

Awww shucks….thanks Prince George. How is your sister Charlotte doing ?

All we hear lately is

1.the restoration of friendly relations.
2.the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.
3.the action of making financial accounts consistent; harmonization.

1.Didnt know we had unfriendly relations with the natives ? Unless again they are living in the past..then their concern is with the church and the government at the time…( unless we are talking about the natives hating us..then it them that have something to work on ?

2.Will never happen as the natives rely on stories passed on from one generation to the other.. have no meaning now

3.Sure..lets audit every reserves spending.. and in turn audit our provincial and federal government.. I am all for that.

So in r

Awesome summarry PVal

Some years ago a rock star, ironically named “Prince”, replaced his stage name with a cryptic symbol of his own making. His fans and the media, perplexed as to what do do with this unpronounceable symbol that no longer identified with the person they knew, resorted to referring to him as, “the artist formerly known as Prince”
– and that’s what the park is now to me: “the park formerly known as Fort George”

Thanks PVal for an opinion. Kind of tired of these posters who scour the internet for articles and post links – I want to know what people in PG think. It’s also interesting on the teacher’s strike, we were opposite sides, this issue, same side – so in some sense, we are reconciled :)

What I’d like to know, is just exactly what does this mean to the LT people. What are they getting out of this that is making them feel better.

You see, my Dad occasionally used a belt on us, and back then, that was okay, but now, it’s assault. So, if I wanted to reconcile with my Dad, I probably wouldn’t ask him to hang the belt up in his house to forever remind him of what he did to us. I’d probably be happy with a handshake, maybe even a hug, an apology, and bury the belt somewhere.

So what do the LT want from this. A forever reminder that Europeans screwed them over and their descendants should be forever ashamed. You’ll never get reconciliation that way. Or, do they want acknowledgement that they are part of the history of the area – in which case, I guess it is no biggie – but of course, we never got to have a community discussion to determine just what it was all about, so we’ve been left to ourselves to interject our own opinions. Brilliant leadership from council on this one.

Brilliant ski51 and I’m not being sarcastic. Positive wording and verbage on your part

ski51, yes we did reconcile so we should become reconcilation experts and spread our vision to all :)

It would be nice to see what the LT people think reconciliation means.. would be nice to see if a majority of PG residents know what it really means.. I know I am glad I looked it up as I was close to understanding what it meant..but once I found the true definition it means little or nothing to making relations between the natives and non natives better.

btw..no Idea what “So in r” was about in the previous post.. lol

My self and fellow students at the University have had some great debates over this issue that has infected your Prince George Mayorial office.. Part of our mandatory course load is Political science.. We have studied existing and past dictatorships in politics.. Your PG council has actually practiced some of these procedures on this LT issue.. A large majority of students, if still in PG will not be voting for Mr Krause and some his fellow council members… That includes Mr Everett .. He is called the “wave” among us ( he washes with whatever popular idea with the public is at the time and has a great grasp on double political speak) too bad.. This is the generation that wants to have confidence in its leadership and cast positive votes for those who know what elected office procedure is … Might be time to put a large majority out to “Greener” pastures Children abuse rules and get away with it once… Will continue to do so…

Agree Theory. This name change should of been given a chance for the public to have a say in it. Was very wurprised on how fast the approval took. I think just one council meeting, just like a dictatorship.

I agree P VAL. I have asked this same question in posts past. We hear the term ‘JUSTICE’ mentioned many times from the FN. Yet, Governments have apologized, The Pope has apologized and millions of dollars have been handed over. Yet, it still seems that FN are still asking for justice. What is their interpretation!

THANK YOU THEORY, and your fellow students involved!
The move by Krause and the Mayor-along with his fellow councillors was a rather glaring error. A concern I felt was naming the entire park as a burial ground–and who celebrates major events at a cemetery?
Surely they could see and potentially understand this would not sit well with many residents in Prince George. We do have a lot of old timers and even though I believe the majority of us do not expect much of a performance bordering stellar from any actions taken for the benefit of the residents of this city by this Mayor and council–your recommendation that GREENER pastures should be on the agenda for a number who believe it is justified to ram such a decision down the residents throats would come on as being commendable was a definite eye opener. The residents of this city are basically a “hopeful” lot that improvements will be on the horizon. This latest just blew their hopes out of the water. Happens over and over!!!! Must be just bad luck at the polls!
But thanks–good job–well done!!!

Democracies, although created by majority rule, have an obligation in our society to represent the underrepresented. How could a majority rule referendum vote by self serving voters with absolutely zero connection to that park besides throwing a frisbee there on occasion be expected to make an informed decision, when it has absolutely zero impact on them other than they might have to learn two more words?
With the amount of comments that I have read on here criticizing their customs, ceremonies and traditions I don’t think that that vote SHOULD be put in the hands of the every day voter. Assuming that some of these bigots vote, that is.

well said professionaler.

As for a referendum on this subject, that is ridiculous. People are complaining about the cost of renaming the park by changing a few signs… a cost of a full-blown referendum is would be a lot more. We voted last fall for our municipal government, and this is the choice they decided to make. Truly, it doesn’t hurt any party making the change. If the Queen Charlotte’s and part of the NWT can be swapped to Haida Gwaii and Nunavut, respectively, a small local park in Prince George really isn’t a big deal.

I admittedly was against the name change when I first heard it, but I accredit that to human-nature’s resistance to any change. Knowing the history of PG, the change makes sense to me.

Happy to see PG move forward

There will always be resistance. I still refer to the CN Centre as the Multiplex. This is no shot at CN Rail; I’m just used to saying Multiplex. Call it what you want to call it. But the type of anger that I’ve seen directed towards our public officials is not grounded in any sort of rational thought. It’s just a name to you. But it’s very important to a minority group in the Prince George and surrounding area.
This did not violate the principles of democracy. If anything, this demonstrates how a democracy should or ought to work.

pgjohn – but to be fair, both Queen Charlottes and NWT the majority of the population is FN. The majority in PG is not FN. The majority saw their historical heritage wiped out in a single council meeting.

Historical heritage? Non First Nation historical heritage rests solely in the name of one Prince George park?

referendum ? I think I have read most if not all posts on the various articles here on the subject and professionaler had the first mention of a referendum . some time to gather public input and a name that is less exclusive would of been in my opinion more democratic for a city park .

And how exactly would that exchange go?

Pro: “Yes, this park has historical significance to our people who were here since forever before we were “encouraged” to move elsewhere. It’s a native burial ground. The city will retain control; but it would be nice to have some acknowledgement of our attachment to this small chunk of land in the form of a name.”

Con: “Shuddup, natives! I’ve lived here for teens of years and have always called it Fort George Park! I can’t even use the word ‘saw’ properly; how on earth do you expect me to pronounce, ‘Klately ten-eh?!’ George and I played racquetball together in the 70’s. I knew him extremely well and feel deeply offended that you would change the name of his park as a symbolic show of good will to a demographic that many of us still treat poorly.”

Now, can council vote?

now that it’s has a new name the city can now charge the natives for all the upkeep.. Excellent.. Or if the natives are so proud of their heritage I am sure they will take over the care of the newly named park.

The city still owns and controls the park. Bob Harkins’ family doesn’t get charged for the upkeep of the Library. And I have yet to see any member of the Royal Family of Windsor out at Fort George Park with a leaf blower.

Actually, in all fairness to the “natives”, this is a white man driven issue. I see all the proactive energy coming from the white politicians. I see the FN people kind of just happy to go along with it, just from the way I’m reading the Chief’s comments.

sure any discussion would be an improvement from how it was done . the burial ground has been separated from the rest of the park and information about it there as long as I can remember . if it needed more notice to please the first nations then the Lheidli T’enneh name could of been combined with Fort George like has been the most popular suggestion I’ve heard. gee thatsure was tough….

FYI, the City of Prince George owns, manages, and maintains 151 parks. Yet when City Mayor and Council decides to re-name just one of those 151 city parks; we get a bunch vocal walking wounded casting disparaging remarks through social media sites. Heard Hell Yah Prince George lost about 2,500 members over this minor issue of a mole hill trumped up to be a Mountain of an issue.

To those of you not from, or living in, Prince George who are reading these comments, take the anti’s with a grain of salt, Prince George is not as racist and bigoted as it may appear, one would hope… congratulations to Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and City Mayor and Council, building a better and closer relationship is a positive thing, ignore the negative Nancys!

I wonder if Eagleone has his rather lengthy comment, all ready to post…yet waits with his finger over the mouse, ready to click the “post comment” button, as the clock strikes 5:39 pm, thus ensuring his comment will be the last word on this divisive issue? Maybe, maybe not?

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