By Jackie Humber
Miss Viviane Sandy is a member of the Sushwap Chilcotin Nation. She is originally from Williams Lake now living in Vancouver. She is a grandmother, a Native American Church member in good standings; and she is an elder.
She and her community are deeply saddened by the recent news of the killing of bald eagles in North Vancouver. She has a message for the young men who took part in the terrible act:
Viviane”I want to call on these young men to come forward and do the right thing. There’s a big price to pay with the spirit world. The families get affected also and I want these young men to think about their families and come forward,” said Miss Sandy.
According to Miss Sandy, there is no such thing as an apology in the Native tradition as you must take responsibility for your actions. However, Miss Sandy apologizes anyway:
“For the eagles to be found in the territories surrounding Vancouver and the community we live in – that threatens our relationships. I put my hands up to the surrounding territories and apologize for what these young men have done. It doesn’t seem like
enough. It was like someone from my own family was killed. The eagle is our grandfather,” said Miss Sandy.
Miss Sandy wants the young men who took the eagles apart to know that she and others know who they are. “Some of the guys are Native American Church members. They can come forward but it may not save them. But it will help,” said Miss Sandy.
In the Native tradition when an eagle is killed or its life taken without completing its work, then the spirit of that eagle must be taken care of; just as a human being.
According to Miss Sandy, many eagles have been killed. “It is devastating to know that the lives of more than 200 eagles were taken. I want to call on the young men who were involved in the killing, the preparation and the selling for profit,” said Miss Sandy.
Miss Sandy confirmed that some of the young men felt guilty and turned themselves in to the elder women in the community. The elder women then spoke with the chief and council who told the Vancouver police.
Miss Sandy said a man living in Vancouver at that time was responsible for the organizing and the killing of the eagles. He then hired other men to take apart the eagles.
“Men from Vancouver Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan and further were involved. The guy that did all the killings and hirings is a Native American Church member. He ran away to the States,” said Miss Sandy.
The Eastside Native community known as Rez has spent many years working to develop a relationship with the surrounding traditional territories. Miss. Sandy stated they have worked hard to have access to resources to help the youth and elders dealing with addictions through their traditional songs and dances.
“We’ve worked hard with the Squamish, Burrard, Musqueam and Capilano peoples. They’ve helped us in our healing process,” said Miss Sandy.
Miss Sandy is still hoping the young men responsible will turn themselves in. “Come forward. Think about your families and take responsibility,” said Miss Sandy.