Siwash Rock Reboot 2017 Day 281

October 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Siwash  Day 281Siwash Day 281 Original taken July 2013 : Nikon D200, Nikon 24-85 Lens (click image for large view)

Siwash Rock along the Stanley Park seawall in Vancouver. This well known sea stack is now the centre of controversy over it's name which is Indigenous in origin.

A lecturer at Simon Fraser University, said the landmark is a major point of history and teachings for the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh people.

"Slhx̱í7lsh refers to 'something standing', 'standing one' or 'standing person.' It comes from a legend about a man who was transformed into the rock by supernatural beings, teaching people on earth how to be good," he explained.  Decades ago, the rock was named "Siwash," the Chinook jargon word for a person of First Nations heritage. (City of Vancouver Archives)

Khelsilem said the word Siwash comes from the Chinook jargon, a trade language used at Hudson's Bay ports between Oregon and Alaska decades ago. It's a mixture of the Chinook language, English, French, Salish and several other languages.

"In that language, the word for a Native person is Siwash — that's what you would call a Native person. And the word Siwash is derived from the French word 'sauvage,' which translates to 'savage' in English," he said. 

"So, it was called Siwash Rock because it was a Native person ... that's the origin of the history and the language."


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