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Francophone club in qathet makes gesture toward reconciliation

Club Bon Accueil has been supporting the french-speaking community for more than 50 years
SOLSTICE RENAMING: Club Bon Accueil de Powell River is renaming itself Association Francophone de qathet at a community solstice celebration taking place on Friday, June 21.

Club Bon Accueil de Powell River was established in 1967 to support the francophone community living on the northern Sunshine Coast. In an announcement made via media release on June 18, the club is changing its name to Association Francophone de qathet (AFqa) in a gesture of reconciliation with Tla'amin Nation.

At a general meeting held on May 22, 2024, members voted by a large majority to change the organization's name, according to the release.

The name qathet was offered to the organization by Tla'amin. It means working together in the Salish Ayajuthem language.

"This initiative underscores the importance of recognizing the damage caused by the legacy of Israel Powell, and is part of an effort towards reconciliation," stated club president Pascale Gibeau.

Gibeau added that the board also agreed to change the name from club to association, in order to promote its policy of inclusion.

“Our hands are raised to the region’s Francophone community for removing the harmful name Powell and taking this important step towards reconciliation,” stated Tla’amin hegus John Hackett. “We look forward to deepening our partnership with the AFqa as we work toward our mutual interests of language and culture preservation and promotion.”

By removing the name Powell, AFqa acknowledges the legacy of Israel Powell, a commissioner in BC’s Indian Affairs office in the late 19th century and the board of directors denounces the important role played by Powell, whose name the municipality bears, in the creation of residential schools and the implementation of policies for the systemic eradication of Indigenous cultures, the release stated. 

"For the Francophone community group, this name change is a gesture of solidarity and respect for the Tla'amin Nation," stated Gibeau.

The official announcement of the name change will take place on June 21, 2024, National Indigenous Peoples Day, during the association's solstice festival.

The free event is open to the community and will feature outdoor games, a beer garden, food and live bands, including the Tla'amin Spirit Singers, the Beachcrashers and DJ Elm.

The event will take place at 5110 Manson Avenue between 5  and 10 pm.

AFqa also announced that the name will be gradually changed in all the association's activities over the coming months, and a contest will be launched to redesign the logo.

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