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Home Covid-19 City of Powell River, B.C. begins process into possible name change

City of Powell River, B.C. begins process into possible name change

The City of Powell River on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast has now started public engagement on a possible name change for the community.

The engagement involves both officials from the city and Tla’amin Nation elected officials and residents.

This follows a request from the Tla’amin Nation to consider a name change.

The concerns stem from the name Powell, the city explained in a news release, which refers to a man named Israel Powell.

He was born in 1836 in Port Colborne, Ont., and studied medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

In 1872 he was asked to serve as superintendent of the newly-formed Department of Indian Affairs, according to the City of Powell River, and served in that position until 1889.

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Powell supported residential schools and two schools were opened in B.C. during his time as superintendent, the city said.

In addition, in 1873, research from the city shows Powell thought Canada should set aside 80 acres for every First Nation family of five, even though the B.C. government thought that was excessive and countered with 20 acres.

However, Powell supported banning the potlatch and removing ceremonial objects from communities and helped ensure that the sale of Lot 450, which included the tiskʷat village site, went through.








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“The impacts of these policies, such as loss of land, language, culture and family ties for Tla’amin people, are still felt today,” the city said in a release.

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Israel Powell was not involved with the founding of the mill or the town and there is no record of him visiting Powell River.

A website has now been launched, along with a survey, which will be open until March 25.

This consultation will continue with more activities in the spring and residents are also encouraged to write to the mayor and council with their viewpoint, including name and address, to info@powellriver.ca or by letter to city hall.


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“This truth-telling work is difficult for all of us. It is hard to talk and learn about these aspects of our shared history,” Harmony Johnson sɛƛakəs, Possible Name Change Joint Working Group co-chair, vice president, Indigenous Wellness & Reconciliation with Providence Health Care and Tla’amin citizen said in a release.

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“I believe, however, that we can find positivity and meaning in this process by approaching this conversation with humility, kindness, and curiosity. We can all make a contribution to reconciliation in action by showing up as neighbours, willing to listen to and learn from one another,”

The city said no decision has been made on a possible name change at this time and the language of the name has not yet been decided.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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