The University of British Columbia (UBC) has unveiled Musqueam street signs across the Point Grey campus to give a bilingual experience when travelling across the institution.
The signs, written in English and the Musqueam language of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, sway away from conventional directions such as, north, south, east and west. Instead, they direct you towards the land or water flow by referring to them as, upriver, downriver, inland, and towards the shore.
The signs were created in partnership with the Musqueam First Nation to acknowledge the heritage and territory of the Musqueam people.
According to Larry Grant with the Musqueam First Nation , the initiative was in the works for years. The fact that it has finally come true, means a significant deal to him, and his people.
“I think it’s a monumental day… to have the language of the land represented in the orthography that we use,” said Grant.
Some Musqueam people experienced tears of joy during the ceremony Wednesday. Vanessa Campbell, who has been learning the language with Grant for 10 years, shared her emotion.
“I feel so happy, I’ve been crying all morning… We all feel a great connection to the land and I think this re-establishes it,” said Campbell.
The names were chosen by the Musqueam people to educate the public about how they perceive place, movement of land, and how their language is connected to their territory.