Ancestral Haida name restored to Haida Gwaii village

July 13, 2022 at 1:04 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Province has confirmed the former Village of Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii will be officially recognized as the Village of Daajing Giids (daw-jean geeds), restoring its ancestral Haida name.

To commemorate this announcement, Gaagwiis (Jason Alsop), president of the Haida Nation, has shared the following verse:

“Daajing Giids! Out of respect for the Chiefs and the High Ladies.
Such a civic duty. Under the watchful eyes of sleeping beauty. 
Arise from a deep slumber. Reconnection with an old lover. 
Stoke the flames of the ancient place names. 
So many great dames, to bring the fame. 
Heal from the shame. A fresh start for all the new babies. 
Creek ladies rejoice, when the salmon come home. 
We’ve all come so far from the foam …”

The village council worked closely with local Indigenous Nations and engaged the local community prior to submitting the proposal to the Province. 

“The names of places hold significance, which is why I commend city council for working in partnership with the Haida Nation to bring this important act of reconciliation forward,” said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Our government will continue to support local governments across the province to develop even stronger relationships with Indigenous Nations as we work together to move ahead with reconciliation and strengthen government-to-government relationships to create a B.C. where residents feel welcome in their communities.” 

In 2019, the Province passed legislation to align provincial laws with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration Act establishes a clear framework for moving reconciliation forward, including exploring new ways to strengthen government-to-government relationships and work together on good governance at the community level. 

“I am so proud of our community and village council as we had the honour of accepting the Elders’ request to restore the ancient and ancestral Haida name Daajing Giids as our village name,” said Kris Olsen, mayor, Village of Daajing Giids. “This has been a gift and an opportunity to make things right and show respect to the Haida Nation. We understand that everything depends on everything else as our world is interconnected. We have embraced our responsibility and come through on the right side of this historic moment.” 

This municipal name restoration is the first in the province.

Such a move is identified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as an important step to reconciliation and a component of recognizing, preserving and strengthening Indigenous histories, languages and cultures. 

“Restoring place names is a significant step toward reconciliation. As a first-of-its-kind initiative, we have many learnings to bring forward that will only make this process stronger,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “By working together, we can continue to honour and better understand the history and cultures that have shaped, and continue to shape, B.C.”

The name restoration comes through a provincial Order in Council following village council’s unanimous vote in April 2022. The resolution came after receiving letters of support from local First Nations, and community engagement.

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