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From Trutch to Truth: new name pitched for Victoria street named for racist official

City staff recommend city rename Trutch Street to Lekwungen translation for ‘truth’
Victoria city staff are recommending that Trutch Street be renamed Su’it Street, an anglicized version of the Lekwungen translation for truth. (Google Maps)

A Fairfield street named after a colonial politician could soon be given a new Lekwungen name, if Victoria city council follows the advice of its staff.

Longstanding calls to rename Trutch Street were reignited by a group of University of Victoria students working on a decolonization project in spring of 2021. The street’s namesake, B.C.’s first lieutenant governor Joseph Trutch, is known for racist policies and treatment of Indigenous people.

In June, council asked staff to report on the implications of changing the name from Trutch to Truth Street, and engage with residents and First Nations. The results of that work will be presented to council’s committee of the whole Thursday (Feb. 17).

According to staff, the city reached out to residents in the 116 addresses on Trutch Street in August. Of the 31 responses, 21 supported the name change and eight of those questioned the relevance of ‘truth’ to local First Nations.

The Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations councils also supported the change, but echoed the concern around truth, suggesting the Lekwungen translation for the concept be used instead. Elder Elmer Seniemten George recommended the use of (‘səʔit’, pronounced suh-eat), a verb meaning to be true or real.

Staff recommend the city rename Trutch Street to Su’it Street, with signage also including the Lekwungen spelling.

Some costs may be incurred by the 12 businesses on the street, but it was noted an address change is free for residents. Canada Post will offer its mail redirect services for free for 12 months.

The costs for the city can be accommodated within the existing budgets, staff say.

RELATED: B.C. students lobby to get racist official’s name off Victoria street

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