Central Saanich has asked Tsawout First Nation to weigh in on the naming of a new park.
The developer of the subdivision at at 2498 Hackett Cres. proposed naming the new park after Leslie John (Lester) Smith, the founder of the Marigold Nursery where development sit.
Staff suggested linking to the municipality’s strategic priority of achieving Truth and Reconciliation with Canada’s First Nations. This “park naming opportunity would support that continued focus” in recommending that Central Saanich provide a formal referral to the chief and council of Tsawout First Nation requesting a park name suggestion.
The municipality’s parking naming policy states that “primary consideration should be given to local geography, history and tradition, and to natural features” and that “names of persons will not normally be used.”
Toponymy (the study of place names) has generated growing interest in recent years, with several voices calling for a greater recognition of Aboriginal place names. Both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have either implicitly or explicitly calling for a greater recognition of Aboriginal place names prior to European colonization.
Notable examples in British Columbia include the renaming of the Queen Charlotte Islands to Haida Gwaii, the use of the term Salish Sea to describe the body of water that includes the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia, and more locally, the renaming of Dean Park to include its traditional Aboriginal name, LAU,WELNEW.
Earlier this year, pre-COVID-19, a ceremony renamed Saanich Peninsula Hospital LAU,WELNE, AUTW (a place of healing in the SENCOTEN language of the Coast Salish people), a sign of goodwill soon undermined by allegations that hospital staff in its emergency room had participated in a racist blood-alcohol guessing game.
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