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Change the name of the tribes

Letter to the Editor


In support of Arnie Marchand’s letter to the editor, I couldn’t agree more about changing the name of the Colville Confederated Tribes, Indian Reservation, etc.

John Colville was some punk Brit who never set foot in the Americas, let alone this area. He had a stake in the Hudson Bay Trading Company, and that is all, and a people with such a rich culture shouldn’t be named after a man with no affiliation with said culture.

There are beautiful words in the Salish language. In an essay titled “Identity and Responsibility,” Jeanette Armstrong, a native Okanogan, describes the word Okanogan. “The word Okanogan comes from a whole understanding of what we are as human beings. The first part of the word refers to a physical realm ... the second part of the word refers to the dream, ‘the unseen part of our existence as human beings,’ ... the third part of the word means that if you take a number of strands, hair, or twine, place them together, they become one strand ... refers to us being tied into the part of everything else. It refers to the dream parts of ourselves forming our community, and it implies what our relationships are.”

Now isn’t that more reflective of the profound culture of the first peoples? Better than naming them after some British dude? 

There are a number of other beautiful words. 

I’m not a tribal member, myself, but I grew up in nature, on and off the rez, and I think the name Colville sucks; so why not change it? Start fresh, rebrand, and cover everything with a beautiful word, as if a talisman, to imbue the lands with sacred meaning, like a magic spell or incantation. 

Jacob Wagner

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