Chief Grace George of Katzie First Nation, and her husband Damian George give a presentation for Pitt Meadows city council in 2018. (City of Pitt Meadows photo)

Pitt Meadows parks signs to include First Nations language

Signs installed at Spirit Square and Waterfront Commons Park will have Katzie FN place names

A pair of Pitt Meadows parks will include Katzie First Nations language translations on their signs.

Spirit Square and Waterfront Commons Park are scheduled to have new signage installed this summer.

Signs at Spirit Square will also say šxʷhék̓ ʷnəs, which is translated as ‘the place to remember him, her, it, them;’ and Waterfront Commons Park will also be identified as xcəwás, which means ‘front (waterside) of the house.’

Katzie First Nation Chief Grace George said she is proud of the ‘beautiful and meaningful names’ given to the parks, and gave credit to language keepers, Cheyenne Cunningham and Leah Meunier for their work in coming up with them.

“It means a lot to us as a people to see our sacred language and culture being recognized in our shared public spaces,” she said.

READ MORE: Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Mayor Bill Dingwall said the project is intended to honour the close relationship between Katzie First Nation and the city, as well as recognize their traditional territory and history through inclusive parks signage.

“It is important and means a lot to us that the translated names were chosen by the Katzie First Nation and resonate with them and their community,” the mayor said.

“We hope this language recognition will help to bring more understanding of the history and importance of Katzie to our community.”

The Katzie First Nation and the City of Pitt Meadows continue to work as partners to create a shared understanding of each other’s cultures. The two councils meet several times a year to look at ways to continue building this relationship through collaborative projects such as this.

Over the past several months, Katzie First Nation has been working to translate the park names. The process of translation involves considering direct translation and how the space was used historically and in modern times from a Katzie lens. The area itself is also considered in terms of its landscape, flora, fauna and waterways.

Proposed translated name options were presented to Council on June 2, 2020 with Council respectfully requesting staff to seek a Katzie decision on the final translated names chosen in order to ensure the names best honoured their wishes.

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