Caption: Councillor Katherine Frank, Councillor Richard Hardy, CVRD Board Chair Jesse Ketler, Chief Nicole Rempel( Photo provided by the Comox Valley Regional District)
The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) and the K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) welcomed new signage to Seal Bay Nature Park today.
Representatives from both the KFN and the CVRD gathered together to conduct a traditional blessing and unveiled the signs at a ceremony this morning.
K’ómoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel says the new signs are an important part of reconciliation.
“For me, it’s a step toward reconciliation. It’s also reconciliation in our own community, reconciling with a language that we’ve not utilized in many years and really trying to revitalize that within the community. I think this is a great first step in just getting it out into the broader community in the valley.”
Chief Rempel added that the new signs also include trail names that reflect a variety of natural park elements, animals, and cultural references, with an emphasis on the traditional Ayajuthem language.
“I didn’t actually get to walk through with fellows from the CVRD but they spent a lot of time just walking the trails and really taking note of the different flora and the animals that are in each of these trails, and would come back and say ‘this one has a lot of cedar, there’s a lot of owls on this one’, so really trying to attribute the characters of each trail to the name to make sure that it applied.”
Ayajuthem is a Coast Salish language shared between the peoples of K’ómoks, Tla’Amin, Homalco and Klahoose First Nations.
To help visitors learn and pronounce the Coast Salish names, the signs also feature phonetic pronunciations.
The trails are also colour coded depending on whether they are multi-use or pedestrian-only.
Xwee Xwhya Luq (prounounced Zway-Why-Luck) is the traditional name for Seal Bay Nature Park and the CVRD says the area is culturally significant to the K’ómoks First Nation as generations of indigenous peoples visited for resource harvesting and to camp when travelling through the area by canoe.
For more information about the signage, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/sealbaysignage.