BC Green caucus applauds ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School students for their advocacy in changing B.C. law

May 02, 2019

VICTORIA, B.C. — Today, the B.C. Green caucus celebrates at the Parliament Buildings with the grade 4 students of ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School, who successfully lobbied the provincial government to restore the name of ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Provincial Park

“I am honoured to celebrate with the students of ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School as this bill restoring the name of the ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Park moves through the legislative process in second reading today,” said Adam Olsen, BC Green MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of Tsartlip First Nation. “These children aren’t waiting for change. They know what is important to them and their communities, and they are bringing these concerns to government. I am inspired by the leadership of our youth. They wrote letters, reached out to their neighbouring schools and community leaders to insist on the change. These students demonstrate that our future is truly in good hands.”

ȽÁU,WELNEW Tribal School is located near Brentwood Bay. Last year this class went on a field trip to the local provincial park and were surprised to discover a plaque labelling it "John Dean Provincial Park." The students were surprised. They knew that the park and the mountain it is on have the same name as their school: ȽÁU,WELNEW, which means "place of refuge in the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Though the park was named after pioneer John Dean in 1921, it is known to the W̱SÁNEĆ people as the place that helped save their people during the Great Flood thousands of years ago.

“Last year these students brought their concerns to my colleagues and I and asked us to help restore the traditional SENĆOŦEN name of this local provincial park,” Olsen said. “At their request I tabled a petition in the legislature - and today legislation restoring the name of ȽÁU,WELNEW to John Dean Park reached second reading in the House. I am thrilled that the class was able to attend to see their advocacy move towards becoming law.

“One of the letters I received last year read, ‘No offense, but we found [this park] first.’ With kindness and courage these students have changed provincial law, and to them I raise my hands and extend a heartfelt HÍSḴW̱E.”


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