Petition looks to change the Moricetown Band name

‘We don’t want to be called Moricetown anymore…’; Wanda Nikal

Petition looks to change the Moricetown Band name

A petition in Moricetown is looking to change the Band’s name back to Wiset.

“It was the students who said that we should not call it Moricetown anymore,” said Wanda Nikal, a cultural advocate and community health representative with the Moricetown Health Centre.

Nikal has been one of the members who created the petition this summer aimed at bringing back the traditional Wiset name after Father Morice (a Catholic priest) came to the area in the 1800s and changed the name to Moricetown.

“We’re the only one in this area that has a non-traditional name,” she said.

It has garnered about 125 signatures thus far, according to Nikal. It’s the second attempt to get the Moricetown name changed. Nikal said they tried about a decade ago, but didn’t have any luck.

She said the changing of the name back to Wiset would mean a lot.

“We’ll have our identity back — what our ancestors called this area and not what Father Morice named it.”

Any name change will have to happen through a vote at the band council, and Nikal has indicated that the new band chief is interested in bringing back the Wiset name.

The band has over 2,000 members; 700-800 of which live on-reserve. Nikal said the petition will continue to circulate until around the end of the year. She believes this time it will be successful.

“This time we have more people on-board.”

The petition is at the Moricetown Museum, health centre, band office and also at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in Smithers. There won’t be an online petition, according to Nikal.

“We don’t want to be called Moricetown anymore after a priest was arrogant and self-centered and did things for himself, not for our people.”

Moricetown

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