Kiyoko Fujimura

Buzzbuzzhome Corp.
July 2, 2010

Canada has been in the limelight lately with the G20 summit, the Olympics, our stable banking system and our booming real estate market. But we’ve always had (at least) one national issue that we haven’t solved: the Native peoples.

And they try to reclaim their rights where they can. Their newest battle is to rename Vancouver’s Stanley Park ‘Xwayxway’ (pronounced kwhykway). Kwhy, do you ask?

Well, there used to be a permanent village where Lumberman’s Arch is now located. The name itself references a ceremonial mask. And the change is getting some mixed review.

Robert Yelton, a Squamish carver, wholeheartedly supports the renaming.

According to the Province:

“It acknowledges our people, and if we’re going into that name, that also acknowledges a lot of our surrounding areas” [Yelton] said.

And that’s totally legitimate. But the opposing side argues that the name change simply isn’t practical.

According to the Province, a local resident said:

“I think it’s the most ridiculous idea…This is Stanley Park — it would be like changing the name of Central Park in New York. While I absolutely respect First Nations stuff, it’s an icon of Vancouver.”

Hmm…saying “First Nations stuff” is putting their issues in quite a trite manner and I don’t think you can make a particularly strong argument for likening Stanley Park to New York’s Central Park, but I get the sentiment.

A compromise has been suggested by Province readers. The Province reports that one reader said:

“I think Xwayxway is a beautiful name and should be incorporated perhaps in the same way French and English are in Quebec. I’m proud that our First Nations people want to express their tradition and language. It’s not difficult to learn and the pronunciation for those who are concerned is easy and even fun for tourists.”

I think this post is a case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The first person quoted is too strong, the second is too light and the third is just right. Mmmm…porridge.

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