Lorna Visser,VFE Director
New name: out with Elkin Creek, in with Jaŝ Chinook Salmon Nature Sanctuary
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Originally named because Elkin Creek flows through it, upon reflection we realized that using this name for this sanctuary perpetuates a colonial, exploitative legacy. Mr. Elkin was a white settler who happened to be there at the time the colonial government of the day was assigning place names. While it was difficult to get much information on the original "Mr. Elkin," we did learn that he was not well liked by local First Peoples.
The Valhalla Foundation for Ecology has renamed this nature sanctuary to reflect its importance to First Peoples
At a recent board meeting we agreed it was time to change the name of the Elkin Creek Nature Preserve in the Tŝilhqot’in (Chilcotin) region of BC. Given that this is the territory of the Xeni Gwet'in First People, and in consultation with several Xeni elders, we looked for a Tŝilhqot’in term that would be more appropriate and honouring of this Nation's territorial governance of the area.
We also discussed with our First Nation advisors the very special nature of this place, in particular its rare spawning habitat for chinook salmon. The Tŝilhqot’in word Jaŝ (chinook salmon) seemed the perfect fit: easy to remember and descriptive of a unique attribute of this conservation property.
So, it's out with "Elkin Creek..." and in with: Jaŝ Chinook Salmon Nature Sanctuary. New signs were installed at the sanctuary in May 2021; we will be using this name henceforth. Special thanks to Xeni Gwet'in elder Alice Williams who helped us by providing this more culturally appropriate name.