Kids one step closer to getting Greater Victoria park changed back to its Indigenous name

Youth want to restore the name of ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Provincial Park

  • May. 3, 2019 11:00 a.m.

A mountain in Greater Victoria is one step closer to getting its original name back thanks to a group of elementary students.

Grade 4 students of ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School successfully lobbied the provincial government to restore the name of ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Provincial Park.

“These children aren’t waiting for change. They know what is important to them and their communities, and they are bringing these concerns to government,” said Adam Olsen, BC Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of Tsartlip First Nation.

”They wrote letters, reached out to their neighbouring schools and community leaders to insist on the change. These students demonstrate that our future is truly in good hands.”

READ ALSO: Saanich Peninsula’s only old growth forest beckons

ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School is near Brentwood Bay in Greater Victoria.

Last year, the class went on a field trip and noticed the sign, calling it John Dean Provincial Park. The students knew the park and the mountain in its original name, ȽÁU,WELNEW, which means “place of refuge in the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people.

Though the park was named after pioneer John Dean in 1921, it is known to the W̱SÁNEĆ people as the place that saved them during the Great Flood thousands of years ago.

READ ALSO: Dean Park graced with new interpretive display, sign

“Last year, these students brought their concerns to my colleagues and I, and asked us to help restore the traditional SENĆOŦEN name of this local provincial park,” Olsen said.

“At their request, I tabled a petition in the legislature – and today legislation restoring the name of ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Park reached second reading in the House. I am thrilled that the class was able to attend to see their advocacy move towards becoming law.”



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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