Students and staff of Crosstown Elementary experienced a special Naming Ceremony yesterday. Members of the Musqueam community, joined by students, staff (including school, District and Indigenous Education Department members) and trustees, gifted the school a new name - šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət.
The ceremony reflected local Musqueam cultural traditions. This started off with Howard Grant, Elder and respected member of the Musqueam community, who shared that the students of the school are part of their family as this community is about 'us'.
At the celebration event, Larry Grant, respected Musqueam Elder and member of the Musqueam Language Department, explained the name refers to a mode of transportation used by Musqueam people whereby they caught the outgoing tide as a shortcut from False Creek to Burrard Inlet. The meaning of this name can be generally translated as 'the place from which one can catch the tide'.
Witnesses were also called, who have a responsibility to share what they heard and saw with other family members who could not be present.
Howard Grant also noted the students' role in the ownership of the name. "You have better understanding of the people of this land. Now you have the opportunity to learn more about the land you live on and the family you belong to", he explained to the students.
Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman acknowledged her appreciation to the Musqueam community for honouring the District with the new name for the school. "Thank you for helping us to listen and learn as we continue the journey towards truth and reconciliation," she added.
The naming committee worked closely in consultation with the Musqueam Indian Band and Crosstown staff, students and PAC representatives in brainstorming appropriate suggestions. The šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət name is in the language of hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (henqeminem), the ancestral language of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səlil̕wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people.
Like the meaning of the new name relating to transportation, the students are also now on a journey to carry the šxʷwəq̓ʷəθət name with respect.