On October 8th, Tsleil-Waututh and Metro Vancouver announced that Belcarra Regional Park will become known as təmtəmíxwtən/Belcarra Regional Park — a new name that reflects the park’s history.
təmtəmíxwtən translates to “the biggest place for all the people” in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language and the site is the largest of Tsleil-Waututh’s ancestral villages, primarily occupied as a winter village. Tsleil-Waututh had occupied təmtəmíxwtən since time out of mind until colonization and still has strong, ongoing cultural ties to this place.
Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Jen Thomas said this is a significant day in fulfilling Tsleil-Waututh’s mandate
of putting the face of the Nation back on the territory. “The name təmtəmíxwtən/Belcarra Regional Park supports in telling the story of Tsleil-Waututh. It shows both our Tsleil-Waututh community and members of the general public the importance of acknowledging and honouring Tsleil-Waututh’s history on this land and in these waters since time out of mind.”
Metro Vancouver and Tsleil-Waututh have been working together on various projects since 2016, including recent plans for the Belcarra Picnic Area, which encompasses the location of təmtəmixwtən.
“Metro Vancouver is pleased to bring greater public awareness of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s historical and present-day connections to these lands,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors. “We look forward to working together to maintain and enhance the park, which is one of the region’s most popular recreation destinations, while preserving in perpetuity any sites or features that have heritage, spiritual or cultural significance to the Tsleil-Waututh people.”
Metro Vancouver and Tsleil-Waututh’s collaborative work highlights Tsleil-Waututh’s current and ancestral ties to this place, the importance of the regional park to the local public, and common interests on how to work together to protect, preserve and enhance təmtəmíxwtən/Belcarra Regional Park for the benefit of present and future generations. In February 2020, Tsleil-Waututh and Metro Vancouver signed the Belcarra Regional Park Cultural Planning and Co-operation Agreement, formalizing the ongoing collaboration between the two parties.
“The renaming of təmtəmíxwtən/Belcarra Regional Park is another milestone in our ongoing work with Metro Vancouver,” said Tsleil-Waututh Chief Administration Officer Ernie George. “Over the coming months, we will work within our community to create signage for the park that includes artwork by a Tsleil-Waututh community member. Through our traditional name, language, and artwork being present in the park, Tsleil- Waututh is putting the face of our Nation back on the territory, demonstrating to our next generation the importance of being stewards of our lands and waters.”
Over the course of the next several months, all of the signage in the park will be changed to reflect the new name, təmtəmíxwtən/Belcarra Regional Park.