Nanaimo’s Tyee Coal Elementary renamed in act of reconciliation

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The Nanaimo Ladysmith Faculty District (SD 68) is taking one other step towards reconciliation by renaming Tyee Coal Elementary Faculty to Syuẁén’ct, which implies “our traditions” in Hul’q’umin’um’.

Following public enter, a particular assembly on July 6 noticed college board members vote unanimously to rename the Nanaimo college in time for the upcoming college yr.

“That is essentially the most significant factor I’ve ever been concerned in, and I’ve been doing this for a very very long time,” mentioned college principal Diane Charles.

“We aren’t erasing something; we’re celebrating our shared historical past, our shared traditions, our shared ancestries,” defined Charles in the course of the assembly.

“We’re going to maintain on to every part that was Coal Tyee as much as this [point], after which we return in September, we’re going to welcome to the flexibility to be Syuẁén’ct.”

Coal Tyee Faculty opened in 1996 to honour Snuneymuxw resident KI-ET-SAKUN who obtained the nickname Coal Tyee after his discovery of coal in Winthuysen Inlet within the 1850s.

“We imagine that on the time of the varsity opening, in good religion it was felt that he represented a constructive story of collaboration between the colonial and Indigenous peoples in addition to representing Nanaimo’s heritage with respect to coal mining,” workers mentioned in a report.

“Nonetheless, Coal Tyee is seen by our Snuneymuxw relations as a tragic determine given his interplay with the colonial peoples led on to purposeful colonization of the realm and harmful useful resource extraction that has impacted the land.”

Between June 1 and 30, the varsity group supplied the board suggestions on the proposed identify change by way of e mail or on-line survey, with simply over 50 per cent, or 361 folks, voting in favour versus 340 opposed.

SD 68 workers discovered a “variety of issues” raised by the pronunciation of Syuẁén’ct, with board trustee Jessica Stanley noting some respondents felt “alienated” or “excluded” as a result of they couldn’t pronounce the identify.

“Though we had 50/50 within the opinions, once you have a look at the feedback there have been issues about pronunciation that doesn’t essentially imply they had been opposed; they simply didn’t know the best way to take part with these phrases,” mentioned Stanley.

Board chair Charlene McKay prompt a broadly shared training marketing campaign alongside Snuneymuxw Nation to assist facilitate engagement with Syuẁén’ct, together with its which means and historical past.

Echoing McKay, SD 68 superintendent Scott Saywell highlighted the “sturdy connection between the reestablishment of Indigenous place names and the revitalization of Indigenous languages and cultures.”

Employees say they don’t anticipate a big price related to changing college gadgets and observe that the change to signage shall be “comparatively inexpensive” within the $10,000 vary.

On the assembly, the board additionally permitted renaming the Nanaimo District Secondary Faculty (NDSS) Group Subject to Q’unq’inuqwstuxw — the Hul’q’umin’um’ time period for “move it again.”

“On this college district, we’ve been on a path of reconciling our relationship with Indigenous folks, and we’ve accomplished … many issues during the last 4 years, each massive and small. I imagine that the start of knowledge is to name issues by their proper identify,” added Saywell.

Pronunciation of the brand new names may be discovered on-line right here.

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