Two Indigenous place names restored in B.C.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin, left, and Premier John Horgan leave the chamber at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on April 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito. CAH

The British Columbia government says two English place names on the Sunshine Coast are changing to reflect the language and culture of local Indigenous Peoples.

The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and the Forests Ministry say in a joint statement they’ve been working with the shíshálh Nation on the changes.

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They say the community of Wilson Creek, south of Sechelt, is to be called ts’ukw’um, and the nearby Saltery Bay south of Powell River is now skelhp.

Shíshálh Chief Warren Paull says recognizing the original names of the area has great meaning to the community and it’s one aspect of revitalizing their language.

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The province says the names are ancient words and recognizing Indigenous place names is part of the work to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin says in a statement colonial policy and the residential school system tried to extinguish Indigenous language and culture.

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“By restoring these ancient place names, we respect and honour the shíshálh Nation’s deep connection with the swiya (land) and to their language.”

Lori Pratt, chair of the Sunshine Coast Regional District, says they celebrate the name changes and support work to restore more shíshálh names in the region.

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