Prince Rupert Councillor Wants More First Nation Influenced Signs

A Prince Rupert councillor is hoping to bring better representation of First Nations culture and history to areas throughout the city.

Joy Thorkelson is planning to bring up a motion in a future council meeting to ensure when items like street sign are either renamed or named for the first time they represent a community that's been around since day one.

"Names that would be names submitted to the city by Tsimshian communities or surrounding communities and the names reflect the history and culture of the Tsimshain people and that the names be written in Sm'algyax."

Thorkelson says also believes sign could represent the language that a lot of Indigenous people speak in the community.

"We're not going to change a name like George Hills Way because it's a person's name. Something like 6th Avenue could be also written not only in English, but also in Sm'algyax. That would be 6th Avenue East in Sm'algyax whatever that translates into. If you go into many First Nations communities, you'll find that their signs are in English as well as their language all over British Columbia."
She is hoping for policy that sees at least 75% of new street, park and trail names have First Nations significance behind them. She believes that figure is important as it will better represent the First Nations communities that are in Prince Rupert.

"People wondered why the 75% number, and the reason I'm using the 75% number is because 100% of the signs are now in English. Almost 100% of our streets and buildings are named not looking at Tsimshain culture."

Thorkelson believes this is a sign and a road toward reconciliation.

"They have place names for different parts on this island. Why haven't we taken those names and used those names? I think it's time we did that. I think most people would agree with that."

Thorkelson says so far she has seen positive feedback on the idea. The motion is expected to be discussed at a future council meeting.