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City HallPossible City Name ChangeIntroduction

čɛčɛhaθɛč taθ qʷal (welcome) - Community Conversation: Possible Name Change

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Thank you for joining us.

Possible Name Change Reports Released

Thank you to everyone who joined us in conversation over the past few months about the request from the Tla’amin Nation for the City of Powell River to consider a name change. The consultants and the Joint Working Group have completed their reports.

Click here to review media release from Joint Working Group.

Click here to read the report of the Joint Working Group (Note: this is a 28.8MB file and the consultant’s report is appended to that report).

Recommendations from the Joint Working Group

1. That additional public education and community engagement activities be planned on issues of shared values, history, and reconciliation.

2. That engagement activities be targeted to under-reached demographics.

3. That future engagement on the name change be designed to maximize the safety of all participants.

4. That the City make reconciliation and relations with Tla’amin Nation a strategic priority.

5. That Tla’amin Nation develop a set of educational materials describing what they want their neighbours throughout the qathet region to know about them, and that the City include this information in training for City staff and leadership.

6. That the City, Tla’amin Nation, and qathet Regional District, through the community-to-community-to-community (C3) process, establish a Reconciliation Committee mandated and resourced to advance reconciliation throughout the City and Regional District.

7. That the City establish staff position(s) to support the implementation of recommendations in this report and maintain positive reciprocal relationships with the Tla’amin Nation and other Indigenous residents throughout qathet region.

8. That public information and engagement events for various ages, groups, and in a range of formats be undertaken to better understand racism and colonialism and promote action to achieve racial equity.

9. That ceremonial efforts be undertaken to reject all forms of racism and support healing and unification amongst all residents of qathet region.

10. That additional community engagement activities be planned on issues of shared values, history, and reconciliation as the basis for identifying options for a new name for the City.

11. That a referendum or assent voting process is one of many available tools to engage the public and gauge public opinion. It is not the appropriate tool to utilize right now. A possible assent voting process and topic should only be carefully considered after implementation of the recommendations of this report.

Next steps

Next steps will be determined at a later date. Check back here for updates. In the meantime, the Joint Working Group encourages everyone interested to review the reports and spend some time reflecting on the recommendations.

How this project came about

At the May 12, 2021 community-to-community-to-community (3C) meeting, Tla’amin Executive Council requested the City of Powell River consider a name change in light of the devastating legacy the actions of Israel Powell has had and continues to have on the Tla’amin people (see Who was Israel Powell section for more information). Because of the City’s commitment to reconciliation, and through the agreements in the Community Accord, the City and the Tla’amin Nation have entered into a conversation to explore a possible renaming of the City through a Joint Working Group.

A new name has not been predetermined. Tla’amin Hegus John Hackett (elected leader of the Tla’amin Nation) expressed desire for a new name that is more respectful and inclusive and more reflective of both the oral history of these lands and the present-day collaboration between the Tla’amin Nation and the City. While part of this engagement process is to see if there is support among city residents to change the name of the City of Powell River, the Joint Working Group also sees this process as a way to:

  • Foster positive conversations between residents about the values we share in a way that builds unity and pride.

  • Develop a shared understanding amongst residents of the harms and negative effects of colonialism, past and present.

  • Deepen understanding, commitment and pride amongst residents about truth, justice, and reconciliation in action.

  • Develop greater community consensus and understanding about the role of place naming in building a more welcoming and inclusive community.

  • Communicate to residents why consideration of a name change is important for our shared commitment to reconciliation.

The next few months will be an opportunity for dialogue, thought exchange and learning. We understand many of you are curious about a possible name change and what that might mean for our community.

As we move into this work, we encourage everyone to approach this conversation with curiosity, kindness and respect.

  • Start conversations and ask questions. You may disagree with your friend or neighbour, and remember, you both love this place. Be curious.

  • This process will include sharing information and learning about what happened in the past. We do this so we can move forward in a good way together. There is a lot for everyone to learn in these conversations and throughout this process. Be open to learning.

  • We are still living in a global pandemic; people have suffered terrible losses and we are still trying to make our way through this. There is no place for racism in these conversations. We can agree to disagree with each other without bringing harm. Be kind and respectful.

Questions and Written submission can be sent to info@powellriver.ca.

This project is funded by: