W̱SÁNEĆ youth from the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership School and Stelly’s Highschool have planned a demonstration on Reconciliation Day, urging Saanich Mayor to rename Pioneer Park.
Shown above: Pioneer Park in Brentwood Bay needs a new name, urge W̱SÁNEĆ Students
This Friday, September 30th, on Truth and Reconciliation Day, the entire student body and staff will be marching to raise awareness of the need for reconciliation to include concrete action.
The Reconcili-ACTION walk, called ŚTEṈ,ISTEL which means “Walking/Moving Each Other Forward” will take place from 12:00 – 2:00 pm on September 30th; on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day and U, XÁXE MEQ TŦE SṮI,ṮEȽḴEȽ (Our Children Are Sacred to Us – Every Child Matters).
The march will be attended by the entire school and staff who will walk to Pioneer Park where students will lead presentations and share a letter they have written, advocating for a name change.
The student’s letter is written in SENĆOŦEN and urges Mayor Ryan Windsor to put the action in Reconcili-ACTION and restore a SENĆOŦEN name to Pioneer Park. The students are currently accepting name suggestions via a school-wide poll, and the winning name will be announced next week. Additionally, the students are gathering signatures on the letter as well as donations to Victoria Orange Shirt Day.
The student-led action is supported by the District of Central Saanich and police, who will be redirecting traffic around the planned march route.
“We are incredibly proud of our youth for initiating action and taking on this important work.” shares Gord Elliott, Director of Operations at the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council. “The youth are demonstrating true leadership through organizing and executing this campaign. They are absolutely right that reconciliation isn’t meaningful unless it’s backed up by a sincere attempt to rectify the harms done.”
Renaming place names is ongoing, important work the WLC also takes on, with a recent victory restoring PKOLS name (formerly Mt.Doug).