Two place names on the Sunshine Coast are changing to reflect the language and culture of local Indigenous Peoples, the B.C. government says.
In a joint statement, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and the Forests Ministry say they’ve been working with the shíshálh Nation on the changes.
The community of Wilson Creek, south of Sechelt, is to be called ts’uḵw’um, and Saltery Bay, east of Powell River, is now sḵelhp.
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.
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.
Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin said colonial policy and the residential school system tried to extinguish Indigenous language and culture.
“By restoring these ancient place names, we respect and honour the shishalh Nation’s deep connection with the swiya [land] and to their language,” Rankin said in a statement.
Lori Pratt, chair of the Sunshine Coast Regional District, says it celebrates the name changes and supports work to restore more shíshálh names in the region.