Grade 4 students lobby to return Peninsula park to its Indigenous name

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

A Saanich Peninsula mountain is one step closer to resuming its original name 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.

“I am honoured to celebrate with the students of ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School as this bill restoring the name of the ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Park moves through the legislative process in second reading today,” said Adam Olsen, BC Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of Tsartlip First Nation. “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. I am inspired by the leadership of our youth. 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 located near Brentwood Bay. Last year this class went on a field trip and noticed the sign labeling 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 helped save their people 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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