Langara College receives name from Musqueam First Nation

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      For the first time in B.C., a public postsecondary institution has received an indigenous name from a provincial First Nation.

      During an hour-long ceremony at Langara College in Vancouver today (January 11), Musqueam First Nation Chief Wayne Sparrow, elders, and singing and dancing warriors took part in proceedings that saw the school named sneweyet lelem (pronounced "sno-WAY-ith LAY-lum"), which means “house of teachings” in Henqeminem. (Henqeminem is the "Downriver" dialect of Halq’eméylem, a member of the Salishan family of regional aboriginal languages).

      “As Chief of the Musqueam Indian Band and on behalf of the First Nations people of Musqueam I am honored to participate in the Musqueam Naming Ceremony for Langara College,” Sparrow said, as reported in a Langara news release.

      “Langara College sits on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation so it is very important that the College is taking the steps to create a Musqueam identity. I know that this naming ceremony will now become part of the culture of the College and be a source of pride for Langara students and all who come to the campus. By honoring Musqueam and incorporating its symbols and traditions into the very fabric of the College you begin a process of reconciliation and lay a foundation for new and positive partnerships for the future.”

      Attendees and speakers included Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson, Grand Chief Edward John, former Musqueam chief (and Langara’s elder in residence) Gail Sparrow, and Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad.

      “We are humbled by the honour we received today,” Lane Trotter, Langara president and CEO said, according to the release. “In granting us this name, Musqueam have welcomed our presence on their lands and given us the responsibility to play a key role in preparing their young people for successful futures. We are committed to working collaboratively with Musqueam on achieving that important goal.”