Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Seven streets in Duncan’s downtown core will soon be getting Hul’q’umi’num names on their street signs, in addition to their English names.

The City of Duncan’s council approved the Hul’q’umi’num Signage Project, an initiative coordinated by the Downtown Duncan BIA, Cowichan Tribes and the City, unanimously at its meeting on Jan. 18.

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

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

The Hul’q’umi’num names for the selected streets include Yuwen (First) Shelh for First Street, Sxwuts’ts’ulii (Hummingbird) Shelh for Second Street, Smuyuqw’a (Ladybug) Shelh for Third Street, Thuthiqut (Forest) Shelh for Fourth Street, St s’hwulmuhw (First People) Shelh for Government Street, Liloot (Train) Shelh for Station Street, and Q’lhan (Front, Ahead Of) Shelh for Canada Avenue.

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.

A report by the DDBIA said that, for instance, Liloot (Train) was proposed for Station Street in honour of the railway station located at the end of that street, in recognition of the role the railroad played in Duncan’s early development.

In cases where more direct translations were debated, alternative names were picked.

For instance, Smuyuqw’a (Ladybug) was chosen for its significance in Cowichan storytelling.

Street names associated with individuals such as Kenneth, Ingram and Duncan streets were not selected for bilingual signage out of respect for the families of those people.

RELATED STORY: THE MORE WE WORK TOGETHER: HUL’Q’UMI’NUM WORD OF THE WEEK PROGRAM LAUNCHED

The project began in 2019 when its three partners applied for a grant from the province’s Rural Dividend grant fund.

This grant application included many possible projects, including the installation of Hul’q’umi’num street signage in downtown Duncan, and the deadline to complete all the projects associated with this funding from the province is March 21.

There will be no costs to the City of Duncan related to the new signage.

Amanda Vance, executive director of the DDBIA, said in her report to council that the goal of the project is to beautify downtown Duncan in an inclusive way, honouring Cowichan Tribes’ language and heritage with signs that are also interesting and attractive to locals and visitors alike.

She said the business organization believes the project has the potential to promote downtown Duncan nationally in a positive light, while also paving the way for a revitalization of the community following the challenges of 2020.

“The success of this project will strengthen the existing friendship between Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan, and the downtown business community, offering good news at a time when the power of positivity is much needed to build community and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Vance said.

“Given recent statements by Cowichan leadership about instances of racism that Cowichan Tribes members have recently experienced, we hope that this project and proposal can contribute to a learning experience and moment of connection for all partners and the wider community.”

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN VALLEY LEADERS CONDEMN COVID-RELATED RACISM

Coun. Tom Duncan said he can’t think of a more appropriate time for the project to be brought forward.

“It shows we’re doing our best to work together in regards to the things we have seen recently,” he said.

Coun. Garry Bruce said he was not enthusiastic about the project at first, but after hearing from members of Cowichan Tribes about what it means to them, he’s in support of the signage initiative.

“Thank you for having patience for a guy like me,” he said.

Coun. Stacy Middlemiss agreed that the project is a good start in bringing the community together.

“It helps us remember the language that was stolen from them [Cowichan Tribes], and it says to them that not only is it OK to speak the language, but that we encourage it.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

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

Just Posted

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read