Homeless tenters in Oppenheimer Park say they've received an eviction notice from the City of Vancouver.
However, the tenters say they have the support of First Nations leaders from the Downtown Eastside and they're not going anywhere.
Today (July 20), they've issued their own eviction notice, effective immediately, to the city. It reads:
We, the indigenous people here today in Oppenheimer Park, do hereby assert our Aboriginal Title, as established in law by the Supreme Court of Canada in Tsilhqot’in v British Columbia. Our people have held title to this land since time immemorial, and we are exerting our right to exclusive authority, recognized as an inherent element of our title, over this land and this camp. The City of Vancouver recognizes the unceded and enduring existence of our Aboriginal Title here. Under this recognition, we now require that you leave this place and cease any attempts to remove people or their belongings from this place. Because we are the title holders to this land, we assert that you do not have jurisdiction over this place until such time as our title to it is lawfully resolved. Any actions against this camp are thereby unlawful actions against our title; we demand an immediate cease and desist of action or the threat of action against this camp or those within it.
A news release from the tenters and their supporters says that about 30 percent of homeless people are aboriginal due to the "effects of colonization and poverty". It also notes that the 1,798 homeless people counted in Vancouver in March was the "highest number ever counted".
Referring to the Downtown Eastside local area plan, the release also claims: "Vision Vancouver approved a plan for the Downtown Eastside that seeks to displace 3,350 residents."
On June 25, city council voted to formally acknowledge that the city lies on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.