B.C.’s health minister said Tuesday that a Campbell River couple so far unable to register their baby’s Indigenous name because of special characters it contains will be able to do it “soon.”
The parents of λugʷaləs K’ala’ask Shaw were told the different characters in his name were not recognized by government systems and they received a letter from the Registrar General that made other suggestions.
The baby is named after a mountain near Sayward whose name means “the place where people were blessed.”
“It’s frustrating and to continue to have to fight for something that shouldn’t have to be fought for, like this shouldn’t be a story,” his mother, Crystal Smith, told CHEK News.
The government suggested changing some of the special characters in the name, but Smith says those names have a different meaning and are not an option.
His parents say it harkens back to residential schools where First Nations language didn’t matter and everything was anglicized.
On Tuesday Minister of Health Adrian Dix said it’s not acceptable and changes are being made.
“It’s something that we’re changing. I know they’re working on implementing it right now, and it’s something that I strongly support. It’s not just an issue of UNDRIP, it’s an individual question for people involved, and we want to see it changed and it will be changed soon,” said Dix.
UNDRIP refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by Canada in 2021.
When reached by CHEK News Tuesday, Crystal Smith says she hasn’t been contacted by the government yet and remains skeptical.
“It’s the same line that we hear all the time. We’re working on it, we’re doing this, we’re doing that but it’s not good enough,” she said.
Right now, Crystal says she still doesn’t know when she’ll be able to register her son’s name.
“I need him, (Dix) to say that it’s done as opposed to we are working on it,” Smith added.