“Reclaim, Rename, Reoccupy”: Decolonizing Place and the Reclaiming of PKOLS
Keywords:decolonization, Indigenous geographies, PKOLS, place naming, settler colonialism
The naming of places is one of the primary ways in which the spatial imaginaries of colonialism have been entrenched within the spaces of everyday life in settler-colonial societies. Consequently, the reclaiming of Indigenous toponymies has become a key strategy for decolonizing space and place in the neocolonial present, thereby revalorizing place-based Indigenous ontologies and challenging the neocolonial state’s assertions of authority over geographical naming practices. This article examines the efforts of Indigenous peoples in W̱SÁNEĆ and Lekwungen Territories to reclaim their “storyscapes” through the renaming of PKOLS, a mountain known by the settler society as Mount Douglas in Saanich, British Columbia. In doing so, this study highlights how the reassertion of Indigenous ontologies of place calls into question the white supremacist logic embedded in the commemorative landscapes of settler colonialism as part of the broader struggle for Indigenous self-determination.
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