The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is in the process of changing the name of Squaw Valley Road in the rural Lumby area. (Brittney Brewer photo)

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is in the process of changing the name of Squaw Valley Road in the rural Lumby area. (Brittney Brewer photo)

Rural Okanagan road to be renamed to remove Indigenous slur

Transportation ministry is in the process of renaming rural road

A Lumby-area road is at least a few kilometres behind the times and is due for a name change.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is in the process of finding a more culturally appropriate name for Squaw Valley Road, in order to part ways with a word that’s become a racial slur for Indigenous women.

A spokesperson said the ministry is consulting with Indigenous communities, as well as those directly impacted by the name change such as the regional district.

In the minutes of Lumby council’s Feb. 16 meeting, RDNO Electoral Area D director Rick Fairbairn reported that the ministry was considering changing the name to Ireland Creek Road. However, the ministry was unable to confirm this or any other potential names until the consultation process has ended.

The rural road has had its name for more than 100 years. The long, winding road consists of three branches in the Silver Hills area, connecting to Lumby-Mabel Lake Road at its western end.

READ MORE: Lumby community pillars to be honoured with commemorative bench

According to the Ministry of Transportation’s highway permits and approvals manual, the ministry does not normally consider a road name change unless at least half of the property owners on the road petition for one.

In this case, concerns from the public triggered action from the ministry.

“Concerns were brought to the ministry’s attention regarding this road name due to the derogatory meaning of the current name towards Indigenous women,” the spokesperson said in an email to the Morning Star.

“We are taking steps to find a more suitable road name which involves consultation with Splatsin, whose traditional territory this road resides within.”

Eileen Brewer, a co-founder of the non-profit Silver Hills Guesthouse, says she is supportive of the name change. She and her husband started the Guesthouse in 1984 to provide health and wellness support to the area.

Brewer has been in the area long enough to remember a time when the word was commonplace.

“It’s been here for a long time, like 100 and some years,” she said.

One of the few businesses located on the road, the Silver Hills Guesthouse has heard people express their distaste for the road’s name when booking reservations.

“Sometimes you even hate to say it,” Brewer said when relaying the address to a guest by phone.

In addition to the alternative name, the ministry is also unable to confirm when the name change will take place. That too will be decided once consultations wrap up.

READ MORE: Lumby toastmasters club hosting open house


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Drivingracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Marchers supporting Indian farmers rallied in Surrey last month, from Bear Creek Park to Holland Park along King George Boulevard. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey MP says mayor’s motion to support Indian farmers is his to make

“He has his own sovereignty, right,” Sukh Dhaliwal says

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

Researchers say residents should leave sleeping bats alone while they exit hibernation. (Cathy Koot photo)
Spring ‘signal’ brings White Rock, Surrey bats out of hibernation

Community Bat Programs of BC says it’s best to leave sleeping bats alone

(Photo: Creative Outlet)
YOUR MONEY: Tax tips for a complicated tax season involving CERB and more

With April 30 tax deadline, ‘it is important to understand the tax implications (benefits) will have’

The Delta Police Department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Unit: (from left) Const. Joel Thirsk, analyst Jody Johnson and Staff Sgt. Sukh Sidhu. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police respond to rising number of hate crimes

Police have received 15 reports so far in 2021, compared to 12 in all of 2020

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Most Read