Snuneymuxw First Nation accuses B.C. Ferries of discrimination over names of new vessels

Snuneymuxw First Nation accuses B.C. Ferries of discrimination over names of recent vessels

The Snuneymuxw First Nation says the names of B.C. Ferries’ latest ships proceed a long time of discrimination as a result of they don’t use the nation’s language.

The 2 vessels are amongst a number of the company has rolled out over the previous yr to service shorter routes alongside B.C.’s coast.

A few of them are coated in paintings by Indigenous artists, others have Indigenous names chosen after session with Indigenous individuals. 

However the Snuneymuxw say the fallacious individuals have been consulted for the most recent ferries, the Island Gwawis and the Island Kwigwis, which have been introduced as substitute vessels for the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route, in Snuneymuxw territory.

Each are named utilizing phrases from the Kwak̓wala language spoken by the Kwakwaka’wakw individuals, whose territory reaches from north Vancouver Island to components of the Central Coast and smaller islands equivalent to Quadra and Cormorant. Gwawis means “raven of the ocean” and kwigis means “eagle of the ocean.”

However the Snuneymuxw are Coast Salish individuals who converse Hul’q’umi’num’

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse says it is insulting that the ferries are named in a language from one other territory. 

“The place [they] take off in Nanaimo is considered one of our historic village websites. We have got a selected declare on that territory and for them to overstep that acknowledgement could be very disrespectful,” he mentioned.

There are 4 ferry terminals in Snuneymuxw territory: Departure Bay, Nanaimo Harbour and Duke Level in Nanaimo, and Descano Bay on Gabriola Island. (

He says his council had been in talks with B.C. Ferries to attempt to enhance their relationship. There are 4 ferry terminals in Snuneymuxw territory, and a press release from the nation says in working these terminals, B.C. Ferries has “precipitated vital detrimental impacts,” and “infringed on our Snuneymuxw Treaty of 1854.” 

Wyse says the nation and ferry company are engaged on signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that acknowledges previous hurt and units a plan for a way the events will work collectively sooner or later. 

B.C. Ferries says it did invite Snuneymuxw and different nations to assist with ferry naming. A number of Kwakwaka’wakw nations did take part.

Wyse says he advised the company they needed to signal an MOU first. 

In a press release, B.C. Ferries mentioned the names of its Island Class ships “are usually not associated to the territories or routes on which they could function.”

“The ships are equivalent, standardized and interoperable. They are going to be moved across the fleet as operational necessity dictates.”

Within the information releases asserting the ferry names, the company mentioned the ships “will enable for the Nanaimo Harbour-Gabriola Island path to be serviced by two Island Class vessels.”

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