First Nations assert Aboriginal Title in Oppenheimer Park eviction
Homeless Tenters, First Nations Leaders from the Downtown Eastside, Coast Salish Territories and their supporters intend to defy an eviction notice given to the homeless in Oppenheimer Park on Sunday, July 20th at 7am.
Together they have issued their own Eviction Notice to the City of Vancouver (see below).
This land is still First Nations land and is under treaty negotiation. Until that’s settled, people camping there can stay as long as they need, during the housing crisis created by the three levels of Colonial Governments.
There are a minimum of 30 Homeless Tenters sleeping at Oppenheimer Park nightly. Many more are hiding in abandoned buildings, alleys, living on couches, double bunking, sleeping in other parks, in front of abandoned doorways in the Downtown Eastside and throughout Vancouver.
Homeless Tenters do not want to live in shelters or substandard SROs and they need self-contained social housing now. Rent supplements do not protect vulnerable low-income people from real estate market forces.
NOTICE OF EVICTION
Issued on this 20th day of July, 2014 and effective immediately.
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.
HOUSING CRISIS FACTS:
- About 30% of homeless people are Indigenous, when they are only 2% of the population. This goes back to the effects of colonization and poverty and can’t be blamed on individual’s mental health and addiction.
- 1798 homeless people were counted in Vancouver in March 2014, the highest number ever counted.
- There is virtually no new social housing at welfare rate being built by City, Province or Federal governments.
- Welfare rates are not enough to pay rent and eat a nutritious diet. Rates have not been raised for 7 years.
- City of Vancouver is not protecting the Downtown Eastside Single Room Occupancy Hotel Rooms from rent hikes.
- Vision Vancouver approved a plan for the Downtown Eastside that seeks to displace 3,350 residents.