After a public campaign to name the new library branch in James Bay, Victoria city council selected one with ties to local First Nations.
The name is sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch, which was selected after consultation with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw is the Lekwungen name for James Bay.
The city says strong support was given for a First Nations’ name.
The library’s two meeting rooms will be named Dr. Elmer Seniemten M.S.M Community Room and the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room.
George’s name was brought forward jointly by the Songhees and Esquimalt nations in honour of the Songhees Elder, who is also fluent in Lekwungen.
George received the Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M) from the Governor General of Canada in 2017 for his work to translate the Douglas Treaties of the mid-1850s into the SENĆOŦEN First Nations languages.
Gibbs was a James Bay resident, merchant and served as a councillor for Victoria from 1866 to 1869.
The city recognized Gibbs in 2016 with “Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Day” on November 19 on the 150th anniversary of becoming the first black person elected to public office in B.C.
The sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch is the twelfth in the Greater Victoria Public Library system.
The city says it received 623 submissions in the campaign to name the new branch in James Bay.
Nearly 80 per cent of those suggested a name other than James Bay Branch.