POWELL RIVER, B.C. – The Powell River Regional District has a new name.

The district is now the qathet Regional District after the province approved the requested name change on July 5.

According to a release, the new name “enables a distinctive identity; one that is unique, inclusive and to be recognized geographically for decades.”

In June of 2017, Elders from Tla’amin Nation gifted the word ‘qathet’ to the Regional District.

The word, which is pronounced “KA – thet”, means ‘working together’ and is intentionally lowercase as Tla’amin Nation traditional orthography does not include capital letters.

Public and stakeholder engagement took place throughout the community and ended in October 2017.

“This is a wonderful evolution for the regional district. Our new distinct identity will eliminate the confusion associated with having a similar name as the municipality,” said Powell River Regional District chair Patrick Brabazon. “Further, the gift of this name from Elders of the Tla’amin Nation will serve as a significant cultural connection to Tla’amin and other First Nations in the Region.”

Brabazon added, “We graciously accept this gift and give many thanks to the Elders for the name itself and for their time, effort and research, truly an example of working together for the benefit of all.”

Following the end of the engagement process the Regional Board made a formal request to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson, that she recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that the name of the Powell River Regional District be changed to “qathet Regional District.”

Robinson said the B.C. provincial government “honours and respects the rights of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.”

“We congratulate the qathet Regional District and the Tla’amin Nation for making this change, in a spirit of respect and collaboration for everyone in the community,” Robinson said.

“We all have a role to play in reconciliation, to understand our shared history, and work together to build a better B.C. and I am inspired by the commitment of this local government to do just that.”

The name change is a new beginning for qathet Regional District, the release states: “It will serve as a cultural link with Tla’amin Nation and forge our inter-governmental relationship. Moreover, it will nurture an unmistakable identity for a vast and varied region of land, water, islands, resources, people and culture.”

Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons congratulated the qathet Regional District on their new name.

“I look forward to the ongoing and rewarding process of reconciliation, and appreciate all efforts being made towards that goal,” Simons said.

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation said words and names matter.

“They can help reshape how we imagine and interact with the world, and the places we call home,” he said. “This is a positive step in our Province as we move forward on reconciliation.”