A street in Victoria has a new name and meaning, following a ceremony on Sunday by Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.
On July 10th, a ceremony was held to rename Victoria’s controversial Trutch Street to Su’it Street, the Lekwungen translation for truth, as part of the city’s ongoing reconciliation efforts with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
The event began with Mayor Lisa Helps and members of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations speaking to the significance of the new name and the student-led movement behind the name change.
A witness ceremony and an Indigenous blessing by members of the Shaker Faith followed before the event closes with the unveiling of the new street sign.
As part of our on-going journey toward reconciliation, Trutch Street was renamed səʔit (Su’it) (pronounced say-EET) Street, Lekwungen for “Truth” in a ceremony with the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations and members of the community on Sunday. https://t.co/M02PiQiWy5 pic.twitter.com/jz9aKDn11h
— City of Victoria (@CityOfVictoria) July 11, 2022
In February, Victoria city council voted unanimously to rename controversial Trutch Street, a 200-metre long road, which runs between Richardson Street and Fairfield Road.
“I think this is a small but important symbolic step which is a long time coming,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday back in February when the change was announced.
“I think this a good step and one that we should take, and I think that it’s been thoughtfully approached.”
A petition created last year—Remove Joseph Trutch’s Name From Trutch Street—stated that the 19th-century politician “created racist policies that displaced Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia and beyond.”
In June 2021, city council directed staff to report back on the implications of changing the road’s name to “Truth Street” while inviting the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and local residents to share their input.
With 116 addresses registered to Trutch Street, the city received 31 responses. Twenty-one supported the name change, while eight supported the change but not the proposed name “Truth.”
After discussions with Mayor Lisa Helps and city councillors, First Nations suggested using səʔit—the Lekwungen translation of truth, written as su’it in English letters.
Updated street signage includes both the Lekwungen and English spellings, with no direct costs for people to complete a residential address name change with government agencies.