(Songhees Territory/Victoria, BC– September 27, 2016) – Yesterday, BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson witnessed the Duke of Cambridge affix the Ring of Reconciliation to the Black Rod at a ceremony at Government House in Victoria in the presence of First Nations leaders, government leaders and other dignitaries. The Black Rod is a ceremonial staff created in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and is used in the Legislature when the Queen or lieutenant-governor is present. Its origins can be traced to the British Parliament and the various Commonwealth countries around the world. The Ring of Reconciliation is a ring that represents the importance of reconciliation amongst the Indigenous Peoples and settler Nations in Canada.
“This ceremony was an important and symbolic to witness in the spirit of reconciliation. We are all here to stay and we must use every opportunity to ensure our voices, perspectives and positions are heard when government, representatives of the monarchy and the monarchy themselves are present,” stated BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson. “In the spirit of reconciliation, I was honoured and privileged to attend yesterday’s Black Rod reconciliation ceremony, but we must remember that reconciliation is not merely symbolic, nor is it a destination, it is an action and a journey that must manifest in relationship building. It is our responsibility to advance our cause for future generations and ensuring we step forward to do the work of reconciliation as this is an important ancestral teaching. Reconciliation is about moving forward in a positive direction, we are stronger working together and we must aspire to toward hope, healing and walking together as one. We as peoples, are all in the same canoe and we must pull together in one direction even when the waters have been rough. We must recognize that the journey may not be an easy one but moving forward together is necessary for reconciliation. Our future generations depend on us to fight when it’s time to fight and reconcile when it’s time to reconciled. Nétsamaát – we are all one,” concluded Regional Chief Gottfriedson.