PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) Restored as Official Name of Mount Douglas Park

This year, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council (WLC) brought forth a proposal to change the official name of Mt. Douglas Park to incorporate the original SENĆOŦEN name. It is now known as PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park). In SENĆOŦEN, the name PKOLS means “White head” or “White rock.”

The WLC’s name restoration initiative was featured on CTV news.  

As part of WLC mandates, the WLC is moving forward on numerous projects that focus on the restoration of W̱SÁNEĆ place names and culture across the territory. In recent years, the WLC has successfully restored the traditional names of several parks, including SMONEĆTEN and ȽÁU,WELNEW.  The most recent name restoration is that of PKOLS.

On July 14th, the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council Board of Directors (featuring representatives from Tsartlip, Tseycum and Tsawout) approved the renaming initiative. Then, at a meeting on August 15th, the District of Saanich Council approved the request to actively move forward with the restoration of the original name to Mount Douglas Park. This agreement came about as a part of the District of Saanich Council’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan which outlines the renaming of “Mount Douglas Park” under Initiatives/Actions. 

“PKOLS is an extremely important location in the history of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation,” said Eric Pelkey, Tsawout First Nation Elder and WLC Community Engagement Coordinator. PKOLS was a significant gathering place for SENĆOŦEN and Lekwungen people, where celebrations and news were shared.

“It was created by XÁLS [the ‘Creator‘] as the where the border begins to transition between us and the Lekwungen people,” said Pelkey. XÁLS found many sacred stones, called QENDOLES, on the shores of SȾÁUTW̱. He threw these stones in different directions to create the high places within W̱SÁNEĆ territory, including PKOLS. “He picked up those rocks and he told our people, ‘I’m marking the locations of the borders of the W̱SÁNEĆ nation,’” said Pelkey.

PKOLS is also historically important because it is where W̱SÁNEĆ people met with James Douglas, the first governor of British Columbia, in 1852 to discuss the Douglas Treaty, which determined many of the rights that W̱SÁNEĆ people have within W̱SÁNEĆ territory today. In 1858, Governor James Douglas established Mount Douglas as a government reserve which is where the name Mount Douglas came from.

Restorating the name of PKOLS is an important step towards attaining the shared goal of reconciliation for both the WLC and the Saanich Council. Reinstating the name PKOLS to the landscape strengthens W̱SÁNEĆ people’s connection to land, culture and language.

“It’s a big relief to me and I hope that we can organize some type of celebration between our communities to celebrate this and hopefully move on to the next location of name restoration,” said Pelkey.

The next step in the official name restoration is for WLC to collaborate with the Disctrict of Saanich Council to finalize the appropriate procedures and steps. The park signage will be changed next year. Further information about the name restoration ceremony will be available at www.w̱sáneć.com

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