A school trustee is suggesting it might be a good time to change the name of Salmon Arm West Elementary – possibly to honour a prominent First Nations elder.
Larissa Lutjen made the suggestion to re-name the school Mary Thomas Elementary at a committee meeting where trustees were discussing the possible closure of Silver Creek Elementary and moving its students into Salmon Arm West.
Thomas was a respected elder, teacher and healer with the Neskonlith Band who received an honorary doctorate for her work in ethnobotany. She died in 2007.
“It kind of came to me in the moment,” said Lutjen. “But I was thinking it might be a nice way to have a new start, if we are having to close one school and bring two communities together.
It could be a new beginning.”
Salmon Arm West has a high concentration of aboriginal students and has ties with both the Neskonlith and Adams Lake bands.
“I just thought so many schools are named after old dead white men, and this could be an opportunity to recognize other groups.”
Lutjen says her idea is only one, however, and she would be supportive of public consultation.
“I’d like to see the community put forward ideas.”