What’s in a name? A lot, according to a B.C. First Nations artist who wants the name of the province changed.
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, an artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent, says the name of the province should not reflect its colonial past.
The UBC Museum of Anthropology, where his works are currently on display, says Yuxweluptun is known for his provocative works that confront the colonialist suppression of the First Nations and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights to lands, resources and sovereignty.
As part of Yuxweluptun’s current exhibit, the museum has launched the #RenameBC contest that aims to “revoke the colonial stamp of British Columbia.”
Yuxweluptun told Global News the current name of the province is outdated and has to go.
“Joining the Confederation of Canada, creating a province and then interning Indians onto colonial concentration camps is more than enough reason to change the name of British Columbia,” Yuxweluptun said. “This is really creepy and ugly. This is what racism is about.”
He says he prefers the name “New Nations” as the new working title for the province.
“We all come from different nations from around the world,” he said. “The ‘New Nations’ name would cover all the native tribes in B.C., but will also encompass all the other Canadians who reside within this province.”
British Columbians are invited to share their ideas online on what they think the new name of the province should be, and the museum will display the suggestions outside Yuxweluptun’s “Unceded Territories” exhibition that runs until Oct.16.
Yuxweluptun says he will review the submissions and hopes the issue will go as far as a public referendum.
Let us know what you think.