Queen Charlotte Village residents support name change – Smithers Interior News


A recent survey of Queen Charlotte residents showed support for renaming the village to its ancestral Haida name, Daajing Giids Llnahaay.

The poll presented at the regular council meeting on May 2 indicates that 48.8%, 185 responses strongly supported the name change, of which 11.8% supported it somewhat, 36.3% did not support it. and 2.9% have no opinion on this.

The council’s discussion and investigation was prompted by an April 28, 2019 letter from the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program sent to the council requesting restoration of the old ancestral Haida name.

“We believe that our treasured Haida language will continue to thrive when the restoration and recovery of our Haida language place names are returned with gentleness and respect to land and sea,” the letter reads.

In total, the Village distributed 901 surveys to residents and non-resident owners of the Village of Queen Charlotte. Final figures are based on the 380 valid responses received.

The name change would be a “step towards reversing aggressive settler actions in the past,” one survey respondent wrote in an optional comments section. published in the report. Respondents remained anonymous.

A non-supporter of the name change said the new name would be difficult to spell and pronounce, which would have negative effects on tourism and other businesses.

However, the majority of business owners, 54.5%, did not believe this would result in unfair costs or consequences. Sixty-two percent also did not believe a name change would result in unfair costs or consequences on their personal life.

One of the respondents said he felt “very emotionally attached to the current name”. While another commenter countered the sentiment stating that “people who feel attached to [the name Queen Charlotte] after a few generations of residence, one must consider the same feelings among the Haida who lived there for more than 10,000 years.

Comparing levels of support for the name change between age groups, younger respondents were more likely to report strong support, while older respondents were more likely to not support it.

A handful of respondents suggested a third option, to keep both names and to name the municipality a variant of Queen Charlotte/Daajing Giids Llnahaay.

Forty-one respondents felt that they did not have enough information to form an opinion on the name change, and in the optional comments section, many respondents wanted to know what the new name meant.

SGaan Kwah Agang, an employee of the Haida Museum, explained the meaning of Daajing Giids during a recent radio broadcast where he said that Daajing Giits means cedar dancing hat.

Council will continue discussing the survey results at the next General Council meeting on May 16.

Kaitlyn Bailey | Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
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