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The Council of the Haida Nation and the Minister of Transport announces the renaming of Sandspit Airport to K’il Kun Xidgwangs Daanaay

Press Release

From: Transport Canada

March 27, 2024
The restoration of Indigenous names is important to strengthening Indigenous languages and culture in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to continuing to work with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis on concrete actions that will strengthen Indigenous histories, languages, and cultures that span our coasts.

Today, Vance Badawey, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, and the Council of the Haida Nation announced that the Sandspit Airport, a Transport Canada owned and operated airport, will be renamed to a Haida name, K’il Kun Xidgwangs Daanaay, which translates to “Sandspit flying place”. Located on Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, the Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii since time immemorial.

This is the first Transport Canada airport to be renamed, in full collaboration with the Council of the Haida Nation throughout the process. The name has been selected by the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program, a committee of Elders and Knowledge Keepers who work to preserve and revitalize the Skidegate dialect of the Haida language.

We will continue to work together, as we work towards advancing Reconciliation and ensuring that we strengthen Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

Quotes
“The renaming of Sandspit Airport to K’il Kun Xidgwangs Daanaay is a significant step in the collaboration between Canada and the Haida Nation. Engaging in initiatives like this fosters trust and respect, critical elements in renewing the collective vision of Canada as a nation that includes all of us.”

Gaagwiis Jason Alsop
President of the Council of the Haida Nation
“Languages carry with them the stories, cultures, and traditions of past generations. They inspire future generations.  Today’s renaming of Sandspit Airport to K’il Kun Xidgwangs Daanaay is a positive step in protecting and strengthening Indigenous languages and culture across Canada.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport
“I am excited to be part of today’s ceremony and celebrations on the lands that the Haida have called home since time immemorial. Today, we take another step forward in our commitment to building renewed relationships with Indigenous Peoples which is built on rights, respect, and partnership.”

Vance Badawey
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Restoring the names of places and spaces to Indigenous names aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and is identified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as an important step to reconciliation.
  • The United Nations declared 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, which aims to draw global attention to the critical situation of many Indigenous languages and to mobilize relevant stakeholders for the preservation, revitalization, and promotion of these languages.
  • There is precedent for renaming in Haida Gwaii, which was previously named Queen Charlotte Islands. In July 2022, the Province took similar action and confirmed that the former Village of Queen Charlotte on Haida Gwaii be officially recognized as the Village of Daajing Giids.
  • Although the name of the airport will change, the airport code designation (CYZP), operations, boarding passes, airside signage, and Sandspit community name remains the same.

Associated links

Contacts

Simon Davies
The Council of the Haida Nation, Communications
250-559-4468 or 250-637-1130
simon.davies@haidanation.com

Jill McKenzie, pipikwan pêhtâkwan
jill@pipikwanpehtakwan.com

Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Laura.Scaffidi@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
media@tc.gc.ca
613-993-0055

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