An artist rendering of the future multi-use ‘Ups-cheek ta-shee’ trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Parks Canada Photo)

ʔapsčiik t’ašii (pronounced ‘Ups-cheek ta-shee’) a step towards reconciliation

First Nations Elders name new Park Reserve path that will connect Tofino and Ucluelet.

Elders from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Ucluelet First Nation have given the new 25-kilometre multi-use trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve the Nuu-chah-nulth name ʔapsčiik t’ašii (pronounced ‘Ups-cheek ta-shee’).

While the literal translation of the name ʔapsčiik t’ašii (ups-cheek ta-shee) is “going in the right direction on the trail”, the phrase has many layers of meaning, depending on how it is used.

Individually, it can refer to our personal journeys in life, going in the right direction. To remember we are on the trail, and going in the right direction refers to being mindful of the environment and all living things.

Collectively, the Elders wrote in a news release, “the land we walk on is made from the dust of our ancestors – in our life journey, we walk it carefully, respectfully, with humility and dignity.”

In context, the name chosen by the Elders represents the journey between the First Nations and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

The multi-use use trail is considered a healing path and an opportunity for First Nations, communities and Parks Canada to work together.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Natural Resources Manager Saya Masso said he is really proud to have a Nuu-chah-nulth name put on the map.

“Let’s do more,” he said. “It’s a tremendous step in the right direction towards reconciliation. Our Nation has a tribal park declaration where we’ve renamed parts or our territory already, like Kennedy Lake is ‘haa’uuk-min’.”

Parks Canada is committed to using the Nuu-chah-nulth name for the trail in future communications.

“We are really honoured to have an Indigenous name for the trail,” said Parks Canada Public Relations and Communications Officer Kiri Westnedge.

“It’s going to be on all our signage. It is the official name. It’s going to be used everywhere in all our communications about the trail. It’s pretty exciting,” she said.

Acting Superintendent for the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Dave Tovell, said in an email that the Nuu-chah-nulth name is one way to acknowledge the cultural significance of the area to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Ucluelet First Nation.

“The Government of Canada is committed to nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. No relationship is more important to the Government and to Parks Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples,” said Tovell.

Westnedge said they will talk to visitors in person to help with the pronunciation of the First Nations name. The phonetic spelling will also be included on signage and other places where the name is written.

“We are also working on an audio file for the website,” she said.

ʔapsčiik t’ašii (ups-cheek ta-shee) is located in the traditional territories of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Ucluelet First Nation. It will extend approximately 25-kilometres from the southern to the northern boundary of the Long Beach Unit of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

The multi-use paved trail (or ‘ta-shee’) will be open to the public in 2020.

Additional Indigenous names in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve include the Kwisitis Visitor Centre, the Nuu-chah-nulth Trail, and the S-ih-ch-k-oo—oo-tl auditorium, named in honour of Barbara Touchie, who over the course of her life was dedicated to revitalizing the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Nuu-chah-nulth language is encouraged to visit: www.firstvoices.com/en/Nuu-chah-nulth or the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council website: www.nuuchahnulth.org.

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