B.C. park name change recognizes ancestral home of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation

·2 min read
A new sign was unveiled during the ceremony donning the name təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park. All other signages in the park will be changed in the next several months to reflect the name change.  (Ken Leedham/CBC - image credit)
A new sign was unveiled during the ceremony donning the name təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park. All other signages in the park will be changed in the next several months to reflect the name change. (Ken Leedham/CBC - image credit)

The park formerly known as Belcarra Regional Park has been officially renamed to təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park, in recognition of the ancestral home of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

In a traditional ceremony on Friday, members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and officials from Metro Vancouver came together to unveil the new name at the regional park, which is the largest of the Tsleil-Waututh's ancestral villages.

təmtəmíxʷtən means the "biggest place for all the people" in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.

"We're gathered here today because we are going to place the name back onto this village," said Gabriel George, director of treaty, lands and resources for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

"It was never lifted from our people's perspective. But for the newcomers who are here, the name has changed. And it's a good feeling, for our family, for our nation, and hopefully for all people within Metro Vancouver, within British Columbia, within Canada."

The ceremony began with paddlers from Tsleil-Waututh Nation coming onto the shore from Indian Arm in traditional canoes. It ended with a performance that included traditional singing, drumming and dancing.

It was a significant day for members of the nation who say it's been a long time coming.

"My grandchildren, our collective grandchildren, will grow up knowing this place as təmtəmíxʷtən," said Tsleil-Waututh elder Carleen Thomas.

"I can be a little bit grump and say 'it's about time' but I'm very happy."

Metro Vancouver
Metro Vancouver

The name change comes after an agreement was signed in February between Metro Vancouver and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to co-operatively manage the 1,100-hectare site.

The regional park boasts forested trails, mountain views and rocky beaches — attracting hikers, bikers and others who want to enjoy the outdoors all year long.

"For all who enjoy this regional park today, it's imperative that we acknowledge the history of this incredible area and the people who have called it home for thousands and thousands of years," said Jerry Dobrovolny, the chief administrative officer for Metro Vancouver.

A new sign was unveiled during the ceremony donning the new name. All other signages in the park will be changed in the next several months to reflect the name change.

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