City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)

Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

  • Apr. 14, 2021 11:30 a.m.

Seven streets in downtown Duncan have had 30 street signs installed that have Hul’q’umi’num’, as well as English, names on them.

The project is a partnership between the City of Duncan, the Downtown Duncan BIA and Cowichan Tribes.

The DDBIA formed a special committee with Cowichan Tribes in 2019 and engaged in a consultation process to come up with Hul’q’umi’num’ names for the seven streets.

The bilingual street signs have gone up on Station/Liloot Street, Government/Hwulmuhw Street, Canada/Q’lhan Avenue, First/Yuwen Street, Second/Sxwut’ts’ulii Street, Third/Smayuqw’a’ Street and Fourth/ Thuthiqut Street.

RELATED STORY: NEW STREET SIGNS IN DUNCAN IN ENGLISH AND HUL’Q’UMI’NUM

Each Hul’q’umi’num’ name is intended to honour the English street name, or was chosen for the significance of the Hul’q’umi’num’ word in Cowichan culture.

The installation of the signs was completed on March 19 and in the following weeks, the DDBIA’s executive director Amanda Vance met with Cowichan Tribes Chief William Seymour, Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples, and various other participants in the project to celebrate the installation of the signs in a series of small, socially-distanced meetings.

The partners also produced a short video to mark the occasion virtually due to COVID-19.

In the coming weeks, the DDBIA will be releasing pamphlets to member businesses with QR codes linking to School District 79’s website where recordings will be available for the public to learn pronunciation of the Hul’q’umi’num’ street names.

Other related projects in the works include a second virtual Hul’q’umi’num’ language lesson for the public.

“I am so honoured to see these Hul’q’umi’num’ signs on our streets,” said Merle Seymour, a Cowichan Tribes elder and participant in the naming process.

“This really uplifts our people. I really raise my hands to each and every one who was involved. Huy steep q’u.”

Seymour added that he’s been looking since he’s been chief at how to work better with his neighbouring governments, and this is a big step, recognizing street names and being able to change them into the Hul’q’umi’num’ language.

RELATED STORY: EVERYONE SHOULD LEARN A LITTLE HUL’Q’UMI’NUM, ELDER TELLS DUNCAN COUNCIL

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples said that when the community says they are walking together and standing together, these signs show that it is not just lip service.

“It’s something we are actually moving towards, because we are recognizing this is something that should have been done from the beginning,” Staples said. “This has to inspire us to do more. This is an opportunity to ask how we want to move forward together, what we want to build together.”

As to the next stage of the journey, Seymour said it is most important to start discussing the question of land.

“Having them acknowledge they are on Quw’utsun territory means a lot to us,” he said. “We look at this project as very important…[but] the easiest answer is to give the land back to me. Solves all your problems.”

While the Hul’q’umi’num’ signage project does not resolve the question of land negotiations, the partners do feel it is a positive step in the right direction.

“I hope that these street signs will start some conversations, and I think they will, and that these conversations will be a good way to build connections,” said Duncan Coun. Jenni Capps, the DDBIA liaison from city council.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Community

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A fire destroyed a commercial building on Idlemore Road early Tuesday. The fire is under investigation. (Kenn Mount photo)
UPDATED: Early morning fire destroys new Sooke distillery

Firefighters still investigating cause of Island Shiners Distillery blaze early Tuesday

Oak Bay Police Department briefs for May 3 to 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Copper wire stolen after Oak Bay construction site targeted twice by thieves

Cop briefs include pair of impounded cars, swiped back medication

The Capital Regional District hopes to be a national leader in zero waste and the circular economy, but getting there will take curbing construction waste and addressing challenges brought on by the region’s growth. Pictured is the Hartland landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion

Capital Region will have to reduce major waste sources: construction, organics from apartments

Langford Fire Rescue (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford looks to strike out on its own for emergency fire dispatch services

Mayor Stew Young says the city is large enough to negotiate solo

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Island community

Crofton residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, critics say, demanding redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

(Pixabay)
B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
North Vancouver Island Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program ready to relaunch

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety while providing marine safety net

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

Most Read