In collaboration with the Tla’amin Nation, British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) recently installed the first of a group of dual-language highway signs near Powell River, B.C.
This project honours a pre-treaty agreement from 2016, when the MOTI committed to updating roadside signs to reflect place names in the Tla’amin’s territory in ʔayʔaǰuθəm, the nation’s traditional language.
According to Article 13 (1) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Indigenous Peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop, and transmit their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems, and literatures to future generations, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places, and people.
The first sign was unveiled last week during a ceremony at tiskwat, the nation’s ancestral village site. The remaining signs will be installed over the next few weeks.
“The Tla’amin Nation acknowledges with gratitude the hard work that has been put into this project to make it possible,” says Hegus John Hackett. “Seeing our place names on official signage in our territory is very important to Tla’amin people. These names have existed since time immemorial and hold important information that has been passed down through generations for millennia. This project is a crucial step towards decolonization and reconciliation in our territory.”