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  • Lorna Visser,VFE Director

In with Jaŝ!

Originally named simply for convenience (Elkin Creek flows through it), upon reflection we realized that we were perpetuating the colonial, exploitative legacy of a white settler who simply happened to be there at the time the colonial government of the day was assigning names. It was difficult to get much information on the original "Mr. Elkin" other than that he was not well liked by local First Nations people.

The Valhalla Foundation for Ecology has renamed one of its nature sanctuaries.

At a recent board meeting we agreed it was high time to change the name of the Elkin Creek Nature Preserve in the Tŝilhqot’in (Chilcotin) region of BC.

Originally named simply for convenience (Elkin Creek flows through it), upon reflection we realized that we were perpetuating the colonial, exploitive legacy of a white settler who simply happened to be there at the time the colonial government of the day was assigning names. It was difficult to get much information on the original "Mr. Elkin" other than that he was not well liked by local First Nations people.

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 and 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.

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