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Power River Watershed Protected Area receives Indigenous name

To recognize Indigenous history and culture, the Power River Watershed Protected Area on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island has been renamed the Hisnit River Watershed Protected Area.

Located approximately 35 kilometres from Kyuquot, the protected area is significant to the Ka:’yu:k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ (Kie-you-cut and Chek-le-seth) First Nations since the Power River Estuary is the location of a former village site called Hisnit. Hisnit is the Che:k’tles7et’h’ name for sockeye, referring to the highly valued Hisnit River sockeye salmon run.

“The name is significant because most species of salmon, the elk herd and monumental cedar have always been in that area,” said Che:k’tles7et’h’ Tyee (Head Hereditary Chief) Francis Gillette. “The cedar stand is an important part of our tradition and cultural values, and the reason why Che:k’tles7et’h’ people came to this area in the past.”

The protected area was established in April 2011 to fulfil commitments in the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement regarding the harvest of monumental cedar and cypress (large trees at least 250 years old) for cultural purposes, such as canoe carving. The 1,680-hectare area is adjacent to Mquqᵂin/Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park, which was one of three provincial parks renamed last year to include an Indigenous name. Mquqᵂin means “The Queen” in the Nuu-Chah-Nulth language.

“Renaming some of our parks and protected areas to include Indigenous names is one small, but meaningful way to recognize and respect Indigenous culture and their deep connection to traditional lands,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We are committed to discussing more opportunities for reconciliation with Indigenous communities across the province and will consider more name changes that connect all of us with the history and original cultures of our province.”  

Changes to the names of parks and protected areas are considered by BC Parks on a case-by-case basis. The two other provincial parks renamed last year are Boya Lake Park in northwest B.C., which was renamed Tā Ch’ilā Park, and Roderick Haig-Brown Park near Kamloops, which was renamed Tsútswecw Provincial Park.

Also this year, John Dean Park in North Saanich was renamed ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Park to include the Indigenous name of the park’s mountain.  

Learn More:

For more information about the Hisnit River Watershed Protected area, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/protected-areas/hisnit-rv/

For more information about the Ka:’yu:k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, visit: http://www.kyuquotbc.ca/

For more information about BC Parks, visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

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