Haida Gwaii School District it is

  • May. 27, 2009 2:00 p.m.

In a historic decision, the school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to change the official name of the district to “Haida Gwaii”, dropping “Queen Charlotte” from the title. Trustees made the decision after hearing from superintendent Angus Wilson that during three months of public input, he received around 50 submissions with 70 percent in favour of the change. The board first started discussing the possible change in November, shortly after the Council of the Haida Nation said it would be returning the colonial name “Queen Charlotte Islands” to the crown. “I just think it makes sense for the district to do this,” said trustee Christine Martynuik at Tuesday’s meeting. “The CHN is sending the name back to the Queen of England.” Mr. Wilson said the new name won’t cost the district more than two stamps, one to send a letter to MLA Gary Coons and the other to send a letter to the Ministry of Education. The change requires the provincial government to pass an order in council before it becomes official. That might take a couple of months, so the district is asking for the new name to take effect as of Sept. 1. This is not the first time the district has changed its name. The current name “Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte” dates back to 1995. Before that, the district was known simply as “Queen Charlotte”. Evelyn von Almassy, president of the local teachers’ union, congratulated trustees on the decision. Her organization voted in March to change its name to the “Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association”. It was previously called the “Queen Charlotte District Teachers’ Association”.