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

Just Posted

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read