I am grateful to Gud Takin Jaad, Rose Williams for preparing this statement about the official name change of Queen Charlotte City back to Daajing Giids.
The statement was written by Gud Takin Jaad, B.C. Green caucus intern and proud Haida.
In 2019, the Skidegate Haida immersion program submitted a request to the Queen Charlotte city council to change the municipality’s name back to the traditional village site. After over three years, on May 16, the council voted unanimously to give the colonial name, Queen Charlotte city, back to the Crown. The municipality, just south of Skidegate, is reclaiming the traditional village name: Daajing Giids.
Our people have endured centuries of colonization, forced resettlement, disease, the stealing of our ancestors and children and attempted destruction of our culture. Yet, still, we survived. A population of 30,000 was decimated by smallpox to a mere 600 Haida, and, yet, we survived.
The changing of a name may not seem significant. After all, it’s only a few words. But to the First Peoples of this land, it means everything. It shows that, despite the acts to diminish us, we are still strong. We are still here, and our place names deserve to reflect that.
Indigenous place names are so important for everyone in reconnecting with the land upon which we live. Our culture is the language, is the land, is the water, is the people. For our places to reflect traditional names that are so deeply tied to the culture and so deeply linked with the livelihoods we have been living since time in memorial…. It’s not something insignificant.
I celebrate the reclamation of Daajing Giids. I celebrate the community and the people on Haida Gwaii that worked so hard to get to this point. And I want to celebrate all nations and communities that seek to reclaim their traditional place names, that continue to fight back against the centuries of colonization we were forced to endure. We’re still here. We’re still strong. We are Haida. HÍSW̱ḴE, Gud Takin Jaad.