High School in Langford Community Centre Gets First Nation Name
A small secondary school that opened this year in Langford’s Eagle Ridge Community Centre for students who participate in high-performance athletics and art programs has been gifted a SENĆOŦEN name by a local First Nation.
Now called Eagle Ridge Secondary School, the school will be known as QELEṈSEN Á, LEṈ Secondary School (pronounced K-wuh-Lun-Sun, Eh Lun) after consultations with five local first nations.
The nations determined that as the closest nation to the school, the Sc’ianew Nation would gift the school its new name.
QELEṈSEN Á, LEṈ roughly translates as Eagle House in SENĆOŦEN.
The Sooke School Board unanimously agreed to adopt the new name for the flexible secondary school, which opened in January.
About 84 students, mostly athletes from the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy, attend the school, which is run out of four classrooms inside the community centre.
In recent years, a number of new school in the Sooke School District have been given Indigenous names, including PEXSISEN Elementary School, whose name means “the opening of hands” in the Songhees language, Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School, with “Lellum” meaning “house and the idea of community, where we raise our children,” and SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ, which means “salmon children” in SENĆOŦEN.
Board chair Amanda Dowhy said the board is committed to honouring Indigenous peoples and increasing a sense of belonging in their schools.
“By accepting a gifted Indigenous name for the school, we have an opportunity to contribute to the preservation, revitalization and the strengthening of local history, language and culture,” she said in a statement.
About 10 per cent of the district’s more than 12,000 students are Indigenous, Métis and Inuit. The three predominant First Nations are T’Sou-ke, Pacheedaht and Sc’ianew, while some district schools are on the traditional territory of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.