One of the meeting rooms at the new James Bay library branch will be named in honour of Songhees elder Dr. Elmer George, who translated the Douglas Treaties into various First Nations languages. Courtesy Royal Roads University

Victoria honours local First Nations in naming new libary branch

sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch a nod to Lekwungen name for area

The new branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library in James Bay officially has a name, thanks to the Name That Library campaign.

The sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch will open in early spring. Pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw, it is the Lekwungen name for James Bay and was chosen after 157 of the 623 name submissions showed support for a First Nations name.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps expressed appreciation for the community’s participation in the campaign, saying it made for a tough decision by city council.

“With the City’s ongoing work towards reconciliation, and the library being situated on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen people, council felt it was most fitting to name the new branch the Lekwungen name for this area,” Helps said. The City consulted with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations before making it official.

Two distinguished citizens, their names put forward for consideration by the two First Nations and the BC Black History Awareness Society, respectively, were selected for two community rooms at the library.

The Dr. Elmer “Seniemten” George M.S.M. Community Room will be named for the Songhees elder whose work translating the Douglas Treaties of the mid-1850s into First Nation languages saw him awarded the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada.

“I think sometimes people wait for someone to pass away first before they dedicate a building,” said Chief Andy Thomas of the Esquimalt Nation. “Doing this while Elmer is still alive is a sign of respect and acknowledges his work keeping our language alive.”

And the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room honours the contributions of the James Bay resident and merchant who, upon becoming the first black person elected to public office in B.C., served as a Victoria city councillor from 1866-69.

Of the GVPL’s 11 branches, four have commemorative names and seven reflect geographic locations. The new branch will be the second in Victoria and the 12th in the Greater Victoria Public Library system.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Watch for high winds today and tomorrow

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria. According to Environment… Continue reading

Victoria Harbour most polluted on B.C. coast: study

City’s industrial past and more recently, pharmaceuticals, create high levels of pollutants

Experts to capture and collar 20 female deer in Oak Bay starting this month

Does sedated, examined, collared and ear tagged in latest phase of deer management plan

Beauty Day at Our Place a chance to rise above daily struggles

Annual pampering event draws women of all ages and circumstances

Victoria dog attacked by otters off Dallas Road

Off-leash dogs and wildlife can make for a poor mix, veterinary staffer says

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

Most Read