Students at the former John Field Elementary School

School unveils new Gitxsan name

The former John Field Elementary School has been renamed Majagaleehl Gali Aks.

The former John Field Elementary School, which is situated on reserve land and has a student contingent which is 75 to 80 per cent Gitxsan First Nation, has been renamed in the Gitxsan language in a move to enhance its cultural relevance.

Majagaleehl Gali Aks, which means “flowers of the rivers,” was chosen as the school’s new name through a consultation process involving teachers, students, parents and Gitxsan chiefs.

Originally named after the Anglican Minister John Field, who lived in the area in the late 1890s, the school was built in the 1960s.

The suggestion to change the name came from the Hazelton Gitwanga Learner Success committee, a sub-committee of the Coast Mountains District school board, which was formed to explore how schools could be made more relevant to local students.

The name change was approved by the school board, and principal Mark Newbery started a consultation process with school staff.

Because the school’s students learn in English, French and Gitxsan languages, suggestions were made to include words from each of the three languages.

It was also suggested the school could be named after a different prominent person from the community’s more recent history, however this idea was rejected.

Newbery said it was finally decided the title should be in the Gitxsan language to recognize that the school is on Gitxsan territory and that most of its students are members of the Gitxsan First Nation.

“With that we started eliminating and we came up with a list of 10 and then we invited chiefs in and presented them with the list that we had come up with,” he said.

“We had a lot of feedback from the chiefs and a lot of discussion around the fact that the name should be easy to pronounce and it shouldn’t be something that would be intimidating for people to say.”

The suggestions were narrowed down to three and presented to school staff, who identified Majagaleehl Gali Aks as their new name of choice.

“It means flowers of the rivers, the rivers of course being the Kispiox, the Skeena and the Bulkley, and flowers being symbolic of our students,” said Newbery.

“In (the Gitxsan language) the name for children is flowers.”

The proposed new title was presented to parents at a public meeting, where Newbery said the overall response was positive.

“For the most part it’s been well-received, particularly among the young people in our community and really that is who it is for,” he said.

“The name change really was for the kids in an attempt to have the school reflect the local culture and try to make it more relevant for the kids coming to our school.”

The new title will be unveiled formally with a ceremony at the school and a celebration at Gitanmaax Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Just Posted

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

CT scanner expected to be up and running by end of June

When tragedy strikes and internal injuries are expected, 30 minutes can make all the difference

Gas prices steady in Smithers

Industry analyst says local retailers not making money, pain yet to come

Verdict scheduled in Giesbrecht murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court justice will render his decision May 24

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read