On May 22, there will be a day of action to reclaim PKOLS (p’cawls), the original name of Mount Douglas, which is located in the Greater Victoria municipality of Saanich.
A media statement from the event’s organizers notes, “The event will reinstate the traditional name for the mountain and reclaim the site where the Douglas Treaty was first signed with the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) nations. …(In 1852), James Douglas and his men met with WSÁNEĆ chiefs at the summit of PKOLS to discuss a treaty between the local Indigenous peoples and the settler newcomers. Outnumbered by WSÁNEĆ warriors, Douglas offered blankets and money and the eventual signing of the Douglas Treaty was understood to be a promise that the WSÁNEĆ people would not be interfered with. But this promise has since been broken.”
Starting at 5 pm, people will march from the base of the mountain to its summit and among other activities, install a new PKOLS sign. WEC’KINEM (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout First Nation, with support from the Songhees and local WSÁNEĆ nations, is calling on all peoples to participate in this action.
The Times Colonist reports, “University of Victoria professor Taiaiake Alfred, a member of the Indigenous Nationhood Movement, called restoring original names a fundamental sign of respect. ‘It represents respect from the people who came afterwards for the ancient history of this place.'”
Among numerous groups, the Council of Canadians has endorsed this action.