I am honoured to stand in the House today to remember Musqueam Elder Henry Charles who passed away on January 28, early in the morning. Henry Charles was a member of the Musqueam Band. He grew up on traditional territorial lands, adjacent to the University of British Columbia, that were home to the strong, united Musqueam people for thousands of years.
Henry Charles was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of preserving Hun’q’umi’num, the local Musqueam language. As a Native historian, storyteller, official Musqueam speaker and greeter, Mr. Charles’s effort to preserve and revitalize his traditional language celebrates his community’s unique worldview and preserves its traditional knowledge for future generations. He forged connections between storyteller and listeners that promoted literacy, the love of language, intercultural understanding and appreciation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples alike. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, Henry was a exemplary Elder and he will be dearly missed by all.