Oh the Places You Should Know: Place Name Reclamation

Place Name recognition is an entry-point to repatriation and restitution. Kwi Awt Stelmexw supports learning and official recognition of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh place names within Sḵwx̱wú7mesh territory. In 2015, Kwi Awt Stelmexw launched two place name reclamation projects: The updated Khatsalano Place Names Map and the Digital Heritage Map.

In 1937, City of Vancouver archivist Major Mathews interviewed respected Sḵwx̱wú7mesh historian August Jack Khatsalano to contribute to the documentation of place names around Vancouver in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh  Language. This map, written in a shorthand writing system at the time, is now being updated and re-released 78 years later. The map is available for purchase here. Proceeds of the sale of this map go towards the Language Revitalization Fund at Kwi Awt Stelmexw.

To coincide with the release of the 1937 Khatsalano Map, Kwi Awt Stelmexw has created a digital heritage map at OhThePlacesYouShouldKnow.com. The web map features clickable information about place names where Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language speakers knew them. The web map will be frequently updated with new features such as photographs, audio clips, and more.

2017 Place Name Curriculum Project

This year, Kwi Awt Stelmexw is actively working on the creation of curriculum materials to be used alongside the place names maps. We are hosting a series of focus group meetings with teachers from across Metro Vancouver to gain insight into what kinds of materials would be most useful to them as they work to teach local Indigenous content and perspectives in their classrooms. With input from teachers and knowledge-keepers from the Squamish Nation community, Kwi Awt Stelmexw will develop sample curriculum materials to be piloted in classrooms this spring. This project has been made possible with funding support from the Vancouver Foundation.

If you are a teacher and would like to participate in the development or testing of the place names curriculum, please contact our Education Initiatives Manager here.