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Relationship-building on unceded lands: An examination and assessment of the Musqueam–YVR Sustainability and Friendship Agreement

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Musqueam Indian Band and the Vancouver Airport Authority signed a ‘Sustainability and Friendship Agreement’ on June 21, 2017, following decades of Musqueam assertions of rights and title over the airport lands. While not an explicit recognition of Musqueam rights and title, the Agreement implicitly acknowledges that Musqueam community can benefit from its territorial lands and should have a say in how the Airport develops. The Agreement commits the Airport to providing various community benefits, including scholarships, employment, training, contracting, and business partnership opportunities. It commits the parties to engaging with one another on a regular basis about Airport plans and developments. It also commits Musqueam Band to supporting the Airport’s ongoing operations, regardless of title recognition. Two years in, the outcomes are supporting various Musqueam community planning objectives. The relationship now reflects several principles of reconciliation; however, it does not guarantee Musqueam’s right to determine uses of its territorial lands.
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