After six months of paralysis, the transformation of the former Royal Victoria Hospital will soon be able to resume: the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) has reached an agreement with the indigenous group which had blocked the project.
Last November, the Superior Court had forced Quebec – owner of the building – to stop the work and negotiate with a group called “Mohawk Mothers”. The latter feared that the excavations would damage any pre-colonial Aboriginal burials or much more recent clandestine graves on this side of Mount Royal.
The Montreal hospital complex has been disused for years. McGill University wants to expand its campus there.
On Thursday, the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) announced that discussions with “Mohawk Mothers” have resulted in an agreement that provides for the intervention of a “panel of expert archaeologists”. He “will walk the site to determine the appropriate techniques for the archaeological work that will precede the resumption of excavation work on the site”.
“The panel will be accompanied by a student of archeology chosen by the Kanien’keha: ka Kahnistensera,” the statement continued. In addition, appropriate cultural measures, such as the presence of cultural monitors on site during archaeological work, will be implemented. »
Philippe Blouin, anthropologist and Francophone interpreter of Mohawk Mothers, said the group was reassured by the agreement. “I think everyone is really happy with the result,” he said. “They are very happy to have it approved and approved by the court. »
Mr. Blouin added that this agreement could serve as an inspiration to “other Indigenous groups who are struggling with similar situations.”
The SQI indicated that it is “still too early to put forward a precise timetable for the resumption of work”.