To honour and respect the Lower Kootenay Band (LKB) community, Prince Charles Secondary School (PCSS) has rebranded its library facilities.
Under the guidance of Elder Robert Louie, LKB students joined in the discussion with suggestions of what to rename the library.
With Louie’s advice and knowledge, together they came up with the name “Yaqsumit – Library Learning Commons.”
Yaqsumit is the Ktunaxa word for sturgeon-nosed canoe. Historically, the canoe was used extensively for travel on the Kootenay River and the wetlands, which the Yaqan Nukiy relied on for much of their sustenance.
As an important aspect of their culture, the sturgeon-nosed canoe represents a concept similar to the modern day library as a place of learning and preservation of history.
“The canoe is the keeper of language, culture, heritage, history and identity,” said PCSS teacher Ki Louie. “It is the library for the Lower Kootenay people, a place to access knowledge.”
A replica canoe was crafted by the late Wayne Louie and is now on display in the school library. It is recognizable by its unique shape that was designed for specific use in this territory. Both ends have a pointed sturgeon-nose shape and the bottom lies flat.
“It is an honour to have this iconic symbol as a center point in our school,” said Louie. “PCSS is committed to reconciliation and providing more traditional Indigenous ways of knowing for the school community. It is important to honour and respect the teachings that were for so many years denied.”
He added that it was a learning experience for all of the students involved, and it helped them to understand more about local history.
“It is a step for PCSS towards what we want to see in our school and community, an inclusive place where we acknowledge and respect the local Indigenous people, their teachings, and their knowledge,” he said.
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