A local white nationalist group used the Fort Langley National Historic Site as a gathering place and photo backdrop last year, according to a recent news story.
The photo allegedly shows members of a group called the Northern Order. A group of 11 people stand in front of the Big House inside the fort, holding up a Hudson’s Bay Company flag. The fort historic site was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post and the first permanent European settlement in the Fraser Valley.
The faces of people in the photo had been blacked out.
The Globe and Mail reported on Saturday that the photo was part of a trove of images and chat logs the paper received from anti-fascist activists in Montreal. The article details the discussions and plans, posted on a Discord chat server, of a variety of members of the so-called alt right, a loosely organized group of racists, white supremacists, and modern neo-nazis.
The Northern Order’s Facebook page identifies it as “A group dedicated to preserving and advancing British Columbia’s founding European and Anglo stock.”
A post on the page encourages people to “Defend Canada! Organize with us in bc [sic]!… Here we see what Canada was before and after ‘cultural enrichment’ by the Marxist elites.”
As of Monday, the page had 131 likes and had not posted much in the past two years.
“I really don’t understand why they would choose the Hudson’s Bay Company as a symbol,” said Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag.
As for concern over using the fort as a gathering place, Aldag said it’s a concern that white supremacist groups are meeting anywhere in the community.
For eight years before he ran as a Liberal candidate, Aldag was the manager of the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
He noted that the fort was never a monolithic white British-descended community.
The story of the early traders includes Métis, Hawaiian, and French employees and traders, Aldag said. They also tried to maintain good relations with the local indigenous communities for the purpose of trade, he noted.
Parks Canada issued a statement Monday, saying the photo was not sanctioned.
“Discrimination has no place at Parks Canada places and it is unacceptable that this extremist group posed for a photo at Fort Langley National Historic Site,” the statement said. “Canada’s national parks and historic sites belong to all Canadians and tell stories of who we are, including the history, cultures, and contributions of peoples from all backgrounds.”
“The site’s multicultural history is recognized, celebrated, and explored through special events, interpretive programming, and exhibits, and reflected in all aspects of its management,” said a Parks Canada spokesperson.
The best-known historical event at Fort Langley was the declaration of British Columbia’s status as a colony of Great Britain in 1858. The first governor of the colony was Sir James Douglas, an HBC trader born in Guyana whose father was Scottish, and whose mother was of mixed African and European descent. The Guyanese-Canadian community has taken part in celebrations at the fort in recent years in honour of this connection.
Douglas’s wife Amelia was of Scottish and Cree descent.
While the Fort Langley photo does not appear on the Northern Order Facebook page, two similar photos were posted there. Both feature small groups holding the Canadian Red Ensign, which was Canada’s national flag until it was replaced by the Maple Leaf flag in 1965.
In both photos, the faces of all the individuals in the pictures were blacked out before they were posted to the Northern Order page.
The Facebook page was originally created in September 2017 under the name “West Coast Alt Right” and was renamed “Northern Order” four days later.
The Advance Times is attempting to contact the administrator of the Northern Order Facebook page for comment.