Highway signage in Tla’amin Nation territory is getting a facelift, with both traditional and English names for locations.
The first sign was unveiled on Nov. 22, after a commitment from the Ministry of Transportation was made in 2016. The signs reflect Tla’amin’s traditional ʔayʔaǰuθəm place names along with their English names.
Hegus John Hackett says they acknowledge the hard work that went into making the signs possible.
“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 have been passed down through generations for millennia,” said Hegus Hackett.
“This project is a crucial step towards decolonization and reconciliation in our territory.”
The Nation says acknowledgement of their traditional place names is a key part of reconciliation as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
MP Rachel Blaney says many Canadian communities have been quietly working to bring their languages back from a few speakers to many, thanks to diligent efforts and interests of young people.
“Language is the elixir of life; it informs the culture and identity of a community and represents many, many generations of traditional knowledge,” said Blaney.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action highlights the need for a collective effort to protect and renew Indigenous languages. The Dual language signs are an essential, modest start to a mutual and ongoing education.”
The rest of the signs will be installed in the coming weeks.