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Tsawout chief helping reclaim Mt. Doug
A member of the Tsawout First Nation is part of the movement to reclaim the original name of Mount Douglas in Saanich.
During an event on Wednesday, May 22, Eric Pelkey will be joined by members from the Songhees and other WSÁNEC First Nations in a gathering that will serve to reinstate the name PKOLS (pronounced p’cawls) for the mountain.
“This is something that our elders have been calling for, for many, many years,” said Pelkey, who works in the Douglas Treaty office at Tsawout, in a media release. “[This will] bring back the names we have always used to where they belong.”
Stories of PKOLS go back to nearly the beginning of time for the WSÁNEC people, Pelkey said.
Historically it has been an important meeting place and geological findings indicate it was the last place glaciers receded from on southern Vancouver Island (PKOLS roughly translates to white rock.)
Not only will the gathering on Wednesday serve to rename the mountain but it will also serve to reclaim the site where the Douglas Treaty was first signed with the WSÁNEC nations.
“It is a very important place for our people,” said Pelkey.
“PKOLS is a part of our creation story within the WSÁNEC nation and it’s where our treaty was first agreed to in 1852.”
To signify the renewal of the original nation-to-nation treaty relationship, organizers of the May 22 action, including volunteers from local First Nations, the Indigenous Nationhood Movement and Social Coast will stage a march up the mountain from the base along with a re-enactment of the signing of the Douglas Treaty, the telling of oral histories and traditional significance of the mountain and finally, the installation of a new PKOLS sign.
“We expect this to be a major event and we welcome all people to witness and participate in this important day for our people,” said Pelkey.
The event begins at 5 p.m. on May 22 when supporters will gather at the base of Mt. Doug in the lower parking lot. The march will begin shortly after. For more information, visit http://PKOLS.org.
— With files from Reclaim PKOLS