For many years, their remaining resting locations lay unmarked in a New Westminster cemetery. Now members of the Qayqayt First Nation are being honoured in a approach one of their descendants has lengthy awaited.
Among the monuments at St. Peter’s Catholic cemetery on Saturday, contemporary flowers marked new gravestones belonging to members of Chief Rhonda Larrabee’s household.
Larrabee instructed CTV she discovered a few years in the past some of her kin have been buried on the website: her grandfather George Joseph, in addition to her nice grandfather, nice grandmother, and an amazing uncle.
“My grandfather fished for the Annieville cannery and his fishing partner…told me stories about my grandfather, about my grandmother. He said ‘I’ve had dinner with them, and it was a happy household. Your grandmother was cheeky and funny, and your grandfather was a hard worker and provided well for the family’,” she stated. “In the 1920’s and the 1930’s, if you lived on reserve, where would you get the funds to put a headstone?”
Larrabee all the time hoped to at some point see a everlasting and visual memorial, which might share her kin names and story with the neighborhood.
She stated in 1916, when a royal fee took away their reserve land, her grandfather stayed.
“Because it was an urban setting, because the community was growing, because it was a port city, they cut off the reserves and they were never surrendered by the people who lived there,” Larrabee stated. “The land was taken away. The Indian agent did not bring supplies to the people anymore, so they had to leave. A lot of them married into other bands, they were adopted by other bands.”
On Oct. 20, new grave markers have been unveiled on the cemetery grounds, together with a stone which shares details about her household’s historical past in the realm.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind that one day, we would put markers for our ancestors. So it was really such a blessing that the rotary club offered to do it for us, and so we accepted graciously,” she stated. “We’re eternally grateful and very proud to have Qayqayt First Nation ancestors recognized, finally.”
It’s recognition of a historical past Larrabee has been working for years to protect, and likewise half of a journey to additionally be taught extra about her personal roots.
“There were over 400 Indigenous people living on the river banks, and this whole area would have become extinct of Indigenous habitation. No one would know,” she stated. “For a very long time, I used to be the one one on the band checklist. My brothers at the moment are on it, our households at the moment are on it. We are lower than 100 individuals in our neighborhood, however we’re all very concerned in town proper now.”