Mar 09 2008

Globe&Post: Georgia Strait to become Salish Sea?

Published by at 9:39 pm under Uncategorized

A proposal from Chemainus First Nations member George Harris to rename Georgia Strait the Salish Sea in recognition of the land’s original inhabitants is getting some serious consideration from the BC provincial politicians (UPI).

I’m not really against the idea, but what’s the point? Harris contends that the new name would help people recognize the indigenous heritage of the Coast Salish people (as opposed to reminding people that King George III happened to be the boss of Britain when Captain George Vancouver sailed through this neck of the woods). But even the most ignorant backwoods half-wit already knows that First Nations Peoples were the original inhabitants of Canada, and anyone of legal breathing age in BC knows about the Salish people.

Half of our Canadian place names already come from Aboriginal names – Toronto, Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Kelowna, Kitsilano… Heck, our country’s name, Canada, was adopted from a First Nations name.

Is it Harris’ idea that the renaming of Georgia Strait will be a one-off stunt, or is the idea to rename the rest of Canada as well? Shall we do away with Vancouver, Prince Edward Island, Montreal, Surrey, Gimli (quick, where is it?) and all of the other “foreign” place names? What about their heritage?

Honestly, renaming the straight or any other place wouldn’t be that big deal on its own, except to map-makers and local historians. But what exactly are we trying to achieve, here? Wiping out the historic stain of foreign cultural imperialism for all time? Having a little fun confusing the tourists? Inducing the local paper, the Georgia Straight, to change its name to the Salish Spectator?

George, feel free to comment.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Globe&Post: Georgia Strait to become Salish Sea?”

  1. Jarretton 10 Mar 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I’m just more impressed by the apparent lack of controversy over some of the street names in this city which more clearly take pride in our anglo heritage. Beyond Granville (named after the Earl) or whatever. Just look at the west end:

    Crown, Highbury, Waterloo, Dunbar, Collingwood, Blenheim, MacDonald…

    And let’s not even get into the ones named after battles: Ortona, Ghent, Antwerp, Dieppe, Balaclava, Trafalgar…

  2. Jarretton 10 Mar 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Not that those are bad choices by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that I’d bet a shiny penny that these streets were named back in the days of anglophilia and haven’t been changed since then.

  3. Israel "izzy" Cohenon 10 Mar 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Map of Napi, creator of the Blackfoot indians, aka The Old Man

    The English names are translated from Siksika.

    010 Ka na nahtsis Siksika head-dress
    compare Hebrew natsah = plumage,feathers [Strong 5133]
    015 Sound lake English ears
    017 Eye Creek Hill English eye
    020 Nose Hill English at Calgary, center of face
    021 Nose Creek English nose
    023 Lick creek English tongue
    025 Calgary cf Hebrew GoLGoLes = skull
    030 ? Siksika backbone = Rocky Mountains
    040 Heart River English
    050 Elbow River English part of his arm
    055 Hand Hills English hand ?
    060 Bow River English his bow
    070 Little Bow English his arrow
    080 Porcupine hills English his breastplate
    100 Belly River English
    105 Chief Mountain English male member
    110 Thighs River English
    120 Knees River English
    130 Blackfeet River English near Missoula, Montana
    140 Old Man River English Napi alias

    Map of Napi’s wife, aka The Old Woman

    010 Old Woman near Medicine Hat
    011 Medicine Hat Siksika saamis = head-dress of medicine man
    020 Po kaw ke lake Siksika name of the Old Woman
    030 Milk River English lactation
    040 Cypress Hills English womb
    050 Elk Island her dress
    060 Seven Person’s = her children

    Anthropormorphic maps are generated by configuring the body of a god or goddess over the area to be mapped. The name of each part of that body becomes the name of the area located under that part. This produces a scale 1:1 map-without-paper on which each name indicates its approximate location and direction with respect to all other names that are derived in this manner on the same map.

    I have found similar Phoenician maps in Asia minor and north Africa.

    Israel “izzy” Cohen
    BPMaps moderator

  4. Alexon 11 Mar 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I’m opposed to the renaming; not only for the fact that it would wipe out the anglo-historical aspect of the name, but also because calling it a “sea” would be geographically incorrect! It’s a strait, not a sea.

    But alas, even if they were to suggest renaming it the “Salish Strait” I would still be against it. Are politicians really so bored over in Legislature that they need this to preoccupy them? And if it went through, we would have to pay for all the map changing, textbook changes, signs would have to be adapted…

    It just never ends, does it?

  5. dj gunningon 12 Mar 2008 at 11:47 am

    The Salish Spectator? Come on, a much more fitting and appropriate name for the local paper would be The Salish See.

  6. jnarveyon 12 Mar 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The Salish See, you say? Hmmmm. That IS a better name. Cheers.

  7. Clarkon 25 Mar 2010 at 3:24 pm

    The Georgia straight did not get renamed. Nor did Puget Sound. The name refers to the collective area, specifically emphasizing the cultural and biological similarities of the said area. It also honors the Salish ancestors, and current Salish peoples to whom the sea has and continues to play an important role.

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