Six Tsilhqot’in communities will now be officially recognized by their Tsilhqot’in names within the Province of British Columbia.
Tl’esqox (Toosey), ?Esdilagh (Alexandria), Yunesit’in (Stone), Tl’etinqox (Anaham), Tsi Deldel (Redstone and Alexis Creek Indian Band) and Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley), will now have their Tsilqot’in names appear on provincial government resources, maps and databases.
“The entire Tŝilhqot’in territory has rivers, lakes, mountains and cultural sites that our people have long had names for in the Tŝilhqot’in language,” said Tl’etinqox Chief and Tsilhqot’in tribal chair Joe Alphonse.
“Having our community names adopted by the province is a small step in gaining recognition of our history and extensive use of the territory. We look forward to working with the province to ensure the rich culture of this area is rejuvenated through the process of giving back the true names of our Tŝilhqot’in places and sites.”
Changing the place names within the Tsilhqot’in territory to “reflect the history and culture of the area” was identified as a priority within the Nenqay Deni Accord between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and B.C. signed in February of 2016 and reaffirmed in October 2017.
In 2015, for the first time, mileage posts using both the Tsilhqot’in and English names were erected along Highway 20 and in the Tsilhqot’in Territory. It was the first time mileage posts in either language had listed the Tsilhqot’in communities.
“Words in their original language have a richness and depth of meaning that cannot hope to be matched when translated into English,” said Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action highlights the importance of language and culture in our joint efforts to advance reconciliation. It is a vital part of connecting people to their heritage and the lands they come from and the formal recognition of the Tsilhqot’in communities’ proper names is a powerful statement of this important work in action.”