Interpretive/Nature Trails

District of Sechelt removes interpretive signs in Davis Bay


District of Sechelt staff have removed three interpretive signs situated along the Davis Bay waterfront and will be replacing them with ones that “publicly acknowledge the shíshálh People and their history,” according to a June 4 release from the district.

The removed signs, created and installed by a local business “some years ago,” describe the history of European explorers who sailed and surveyed the Sunshine Coast in the 18th and 19th century, the district said.

“It is important to acknowledge the trauma and grief colonization has caused to indigenous peoples,” Sechelt Mayor Darnelda Siegers said in the release. “Removing the signs that celebrate colonization without acknowledging Indigenous history is an important action in respecting our shíshálh neighbours.”

The replacement signs, expected to be installed by the end of the year, will incorporate information about shíshálh Nation history “to reflect both past and present Indigenous land use in the area,” and will include she shashishalhem and English languages.

The project was developed through dialogue between the district and the nation, including nation elders, with support from the syíyaya Reconciliation Movement, with a goal to “to decolonize the District of Sechelt’s interpretive signs and redress inequity in our storytelling,” according to the release.

ʔakista xaxanak (Garry Feschuk), syíyaya Reconciliation Movement co-founder, said the project is important “for the entire community because it shows respect for shíshálh Elders and inclusion of the rich shíshálh history as we walk together through reconciliation.”

Shíshálh Nation and the district have been working to update the signs since 2019, but were delayed because of the pandemic, Sechelt’s communications manager Julie Rogers told Coast Reporter. Further, she said the district had placed temporary signs on top of the existing signs informing people about the imminent change, “but our temporary signs kept disappearing.”

The existing signs depicting colonization are “difficult for some members of our community to see,” she said, and “in light of recent events that have caused even more trauma and grief in our community we thought it was best to remove them now.”

The district is also hoping to address similar signs located at Trail Bay once the Davis Bay project is complete.

Signs at Trail Bay, including at the pier at Friendship Park, were removed this week “in error,” said Rogers, but since they’re down, “we are going to take the opportunity to review them now and perform much needed maintenance on the structures that the signs are mounted on.”

Funding for the project comes in part from Heritage BC’s Heritage Legacy Fund.

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