Statement by the Provincial Executive, Communist Party of BC, July 26, 2021
During the recent public discussions and debates around the 150th anniversary of “British Columbia’s” entry into the Canadian state, a growing number of Indigenous activists and other people have renewed the long-standing proposal to drop the name given to this province by the British monarchy, and to replace it with a name reflecting the historic truth that this geographic region has been the home of Indigenous peoples for many thousands of years.
This call has been given new urgency by the revelations of hundreds of unmarked graves of children at the site of the so-called “residential schools” in this province and other parts of Canada. Increasingly, people understand that the modern Canadian capitalist state has its origins in a genocidal colonial project to create a “white man’s country”. The name of this province symbolizes this project – the seizure of vast lands and waters by the most powerful imperialist power of its time, and the name of a European explorer who never came near this region, and whose actions helped launch a five hundred year era of death and destruction of the Indigenous peoples of this hemisphere.
The Communist Party of BC welcomes these proposals, and states without hesitation that we give our full support to the demands to make an appropriate change as soon as possible. There are already some positive suggestions for a new name reflecting the Indigenous heritage of this part of Canada. One example is “S’ólh Téméxw” (pronounced “Soul Tow-mock”), meaning “our land,” or “our world” — a term often used by Coast Salish peoples to describe the Lower Mainland region of BC. But in our view, the proposed new name should emerge from the process of discussions among Indigenous peoples themselves, for subsequent adoption by the Legislature.
For more information, contact Communist Party of BC leader Kimball Cariou, 604-255-2041, or the Vancouver Island organizer for the Communist Party, Tyson Strandlund, 250-883-7321.