People sit along the Stanley Park seawall as others fish in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, August 25, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

The Vancouver Park Board has passed a motion to learn the traditional Indigenous names for the lands it administers, including areas within Stanley Park and the many beaches lining the Fraser River, English Bay and Burrard Inlet.

Board chair and Green party member Stuart Mackinnon introduced the motion as part of the park board’s ongoing efforts at reconciliation, and it was approved by the board at its Monday night meeting.

The board will now work with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations to identify traditional place names and determine appropriate next steps.

The Green party of Vancouver says in a release that Mackinnon’s motion continues reconciliation efforts that include a colonial audit to identify ways the city’s history erased the Indigenous presence in what became city parks.

In particular the audit will look at how archeological sites were disturbed, Aboriginal cultural activities were wiped out or non-Indigenous activities were given priority within parks.

Mackinnon says learning traditional names adds to that work because names form a key part of culture and heritage.

“Part of the colonization of Vancouver was the changing of traditional names,” he says in the release.

“My motion is part of reconciliation in Vancouver, to recognize that these Indigenous people have been here forever and that they had place names long before we were here.”

Related: Vancouver Park Board considers motion to identify, recognize First Nation names

Related: John A. Macdonald sculptor says B.C. city is doing reconciliation wrong

The Canadian Press

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