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

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Oak Bay police ‘patient’ but ready to make arrests if campers don’t leave

Vehicle access restricted to waterfront segment of Uplands Park

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Most Read