LÁU,WELNEW Provincial Park (John Dean)

Traditional Name Addition

The official name change will be from John Dean to ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean.

ȽÁU,WELNEW (Place of Refuge/Escape) is best pronounced as: Tlay will nook

In 2019, John Dean Provincial Park will receive an additional name and/or an amendment to its name, the options are:

  1. ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean Park (Jarrett’s wish);
  2. ȽÁU,WELNEW – John Dean Park;
  3. ȽÁU,WELNEW (John Dean) Park;
  4. ȽÁU,WELNEW Park (John Dean); or
  5. ȽÁU,WELNEW Park (the recommendation was just the traditional name)

The indigenous word ȽÁU,WELNEW (pronounced Tlay will nook) translates to ‘Place of Refuge/Escape’. Please listen to this link to learn the proper pronunciation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APQJnL74e5o (minute 1:19+). A formal naming ceremony is being planned for the summer of 2019. This name addition links perfectly into the 2018-2021 Centennial Years’ Experience.

I believe – the Minister of Parks is thrilled to respond to a petition received from grade three students at ȽÁU,WELNEW School (Jun 18). I also believe staffs are pleased to work with newly elected MLA Adam Olsen (BC Green), a member of Tsartlip/W̱JOȽEȽP. This is a great opportunity to attach the Indigenous name of the mountain to the provincial park. Mount Newton is ȽÁU,WELNEW (Place of Refuge/Escape). Adding this name will correctly reflect the traditional W̱SÁNEĆ place name for the area which has been passed down for thousands of years through W̱SÁNEĆ oral tradition of stories and teachings. I believe this dual name will honour First Nations’ history and culture, and will organically provide the connection between place and experience. For regulars and visitors alike, I feel ‘Place of Refuge/Escape’ truly encapsulates the spirit of this amazing park.

MEDIA (you need to fact check; stop saying the name has been ignored) – The name has not been ignored. In Apr-May, 1990 (age 15), I collaborated with W’S’ANEC elder Gabriol Bartlemen and BC Parks to name three trails and a stream within John Dean Park. This occurred within 10 months of the naming of the ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ School. Since then (28 years), John Dean Park has proudly displayed:

  1. ȽÁU,WELNEW TRAIL (4 sign boards)
  2. SLEKTAIN TRAIL (3 sign boards)
  3. THUNDERBIRD TRAIL (2 sign boards) ; and
  4. RAVEN CREEK (1 sign board).

As of 2 Jan 19, the overwhelming favor from 50+ park regulars, all visitors I’ve encountered, descendants of John Dean’s family, descendants of Freeman King, and myself is for the name: ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park. Not one person was against the addition of the name ȽÁU,WELNEW.

LEGISLATION – Spring 2019, I anticipate that the Environment Minister George Heyman will introduce Bill 16 – 2019: Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2019. Whereby HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia will likely enact the following: by repealing the name of John Dean Park and substituting the following: ȽÁU,WELNEW (John Dean) Park.”

In addition to consulting John Dean’s extended family, and myself, what will likely keep John Dean’s name on legal title is that on November 11, 1921, the province accepted John Dean’s conditions of trust. The 2nd condition stated: “Upon trust, to so maintain the said lands under the title and designation of Dean Park.”

JOHN DEAN PARK – The W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples of the Saanich Peninsula view and cherish the mountain as a sacred place. Through their language SENĆOŦEN (1984), they believe that it is very important to pass down the traditional disciplines, teachings, history, and the way of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. I believe as-long-as the traditional names are known, this sacred mountain will be respected.

In addition to preserving an intact ecosystem, this park, this mountain means so much to us on a spiritual level. As early as April 23, 1934, at the inaugural meeting of the Dean Park Board it was suggested that the name of the park be the John Dean Mount Newton Park. Today, I more fully connect with the instinctive name: ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park.

BACKGROUND – John Dean Provincial Park encompasses the summit of Mount Newton, traditionally known by the W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples in their language of SENĆOŦEN as ȽÁU,WELNEW (place of refuge/escape), best pronounced as Slay will nook.

ȽÁU,WELNEW is the sacred mountain of the W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples. It’s a Thunderbird (ZINC̸O) Mountain, a sacred place of harmony, healing, and balance between body, mind, and spirit.  Legends of the Great Flood, the Thunderbird, and winter ceremonies figure prominently in the culture, which is now a principal part of our collective peninsula history. Those who truly know this place have a deep connection with the mountain as a spiritual centre. To cherish and share the sacred mountain atmosphere is a great personal experience.

There are several great symbols within the legend of the Great Flood: the ocean, the mountain, the cedar rope, the arbutus tree, Raven, and the chosen name W̱SÁNEĆ. As long as the traditional W̱SÁNEĆ place names are cherished, the people will be honoured. Within John Dean Provincial Park, these SENĆOŦEN names are proudly displayed

MOUNT NEWTON | ȽÁU,WELNEW (Place of Refuge/Escape) | installed 1990




RAVEN CREEK | SQTO¸; SPOOL | installed 1990


PICKLES’ BLUFF | ĆELE¸WIȽTW̱ (incomparable, unsurpassable) | 2015



ȽÁU,WELNEW (Place of Refuge/Escape) is best pronounced as:

  • Clay well nook (1987-1988)
  • Tlay well newH (1989)
  • Tlay well enewth (1990-2005)
  • Tlay will nooth (2006-2017)
  • Slay will nook (2018)
  • Tlay will nook (2019 current)


From the book CAMP 20 (2018): “The best way to start this John Dean Park story is to honour the First Nation peoples and to appreciate the sacredness of the mountain, on which this park is centered. When I was a youth, through Scouting, school, and Camp Thunderbird, aboriginal cultural and legends became a part of my life. This early exposure to the supernatural atmosphere helped fashion my ethics, values, and respect for sacred places. In the spirit of reconciliation and as someone who holds reverence for the W̱SÁNEĆ people, I am pleased to share the existing cross-cultural significance surrounding our shared mountain.”


1852:  the name Mount Newton first appears on Joseph Pemberton’s peninsula map;

1978:  Tsartlip elder Dave Elliott created the SENĆOŦEN Alphabet;

1984:  the Saanich Indian School Board adopted the Dave Elliott Alphabet to help preserve the SENĆOŦEN language, culture and history;

1987: January 14 and March 11, the name was spelt as Lthaewelngexw (pronounced as Clay wel nook);

1988: The spelling for the mountain was chosen: ȽÁU,WELNEW. The name of the sacred mountain was brought down for and given to the new tribal school.

1989, July 13: was the first time the name ȽÁU,WELNEW appeared publically in the newspaper. The ȽÁU,WELNEW school opened July 15-16th. Today, it’s a place that offers respite and wisdom. The school is a haven, a place for Saanich children to know their history and find a clear vision of their future;

1990: Jarrett Teague (spring 1990, grade 10, age 15) collaborated with Tsartlip Elder Gabriel Bartlemen and BC Parks to name three trails and a stream within John Dean Park; today John Dean Park features the ȽÁU,WELNEW TRAIL, SLEKTAIN TRAIL, THUNDERBIRD TRAIL and RAVEN CREEK;

1995 onwards: Jarrett Teague has consistently acknowledged and used the name LÁU,WELNEW is all of his writings, especially within his seven books which cover the parks history;

1911: Jarrett Teague added the SENĆOŦEN spelling to the: THUNDERBIRD TRAIL signs,  ZINCO SOL, and also added a sign in the parking lot, “To ȽÁU,WELNEW Summit.”

2013: After the march to reclaim Mount Douglas as POLKS, the renaming of Mount Newton has had the support of a vast majority of regular park visitors (Jarrett’s belief);

2014: Tsawout Hereditary Chief Eric Pelkey used the 1yr anniversary of reclaiming PKOLS, and announced, “On Sept. 21, Mount Newton will be reclaimed ȽÁU,WELNEW. The area is sacred to the Saanich people and has been linked to its stories and history for tens of thousands of years. We`re acting on a long-held wish to reclaim the name ȽÁU,WELNEW.” This did not occur. Anticipating this event, Jarrett worked with BC Parks; a permanent sign location was pre-approved at the summit. I believe the intent was to create a similar PKOLS sign, carved by artist Charles Elliott; this hasn’t materialised. BC Parks also encouraged an interruptive sign for the parking lot, which could tell the Legend of the Great Flood; this hasn’t materialised;

2018: In June, grade 3’s at the ȽÁU,WELNEW tribal school created a petition to add the mountains traditional name to the park, to read as: ȽÁU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park.

RENAMED PARKS: To reflect ancestral connection and to support reconciliation efforts, in 2018, five BC parks were renamed with Indigenous titles:

1)       Brooks Peninsula Park on Vancouver Island was renamed as Mquqᵂin / Brooks Peninsula Park, which was originally intended when the park name was changed in 2009 (First Nations name appearing before the original park name). The word Mquqwin means “The Queen” in the Nuu-Chah-Nulth language;

2)       Boya Lake Park near the northwestern BC border was renamed as Tā Ch’ilā Park (Boya Lake), meaning “holes in a blanket,” at the request of the Kaska Dena First Nation;

3)       Roderick Haig-Brown Park in the Shuswap was renamed to the traditional Secwepemc name Tsútswecw Park (Roderick Haig-Brown), which translates to “many rivers,” at the request of the Little Shuswap Indian Band;

4)       Haynes Point Park was renamed as sẁiẁs Park (Haynes Point). sw̓iw̓s (swee-yous) means place where it is shallow or narrow in the middle of the lake. The place name explains how the Okanagan ancestors of the Osoyoos Band used the area as a very important crossing point of Osoyoos Lake;

5)       Okanagan Falls Park was renamed as sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ Park (Okanagan Falls), means little falls and signifies a connection to Kettle Falls, which is known as big falls in the nsyilxcen language. These two falls were the most important fishing sites in the Okanagan Nation’s territory; and


6)       John Dean Park is next. In 2019, our first donated provincial park will receive an extension to its name. I believe as-long-as the traditional names are known, this sacred mountain will be respected.


CBC RADIO ONE, On the Island, June 15, 2018 | Host Gregor Craigie interviews MLA Adam Olsen


QUESTION: CBC’s Gregor Craigie (6:50) – Alright, so you could call it both LÁU,WELNEW and John Dean Park, because, I was going to ask you about this. The importance of perhaps continuing to honor somehow the legacy of John Dean, who as I understand it donated this land, rather than selling it or profiting from timber harvest. So, how important is it in your view, you know, to do both rather than one or the other?

ANWSER: MLA Adam Olsen (7:12) – Well look, I think that once you start to say that – just the controversy goes from the First Nations perspective in removing a name or not acknowledging a name, I don’t think that we want to repeat that history. I think that it is important to acknowledge the history of how that park was established. I don’t think the Saanich people have ever seen Mount Newton or John Dean Provincial Park as a park, they’ve seen it as a sacred place. I wouldn’t suggest the need to remove that name, I think we just need to reattach and to start to tell the story of that place. In fact it makes it more of an interesting place to go and visit – frankly. That it carries these traditional stories, and even the story of John Dean has now become a traditional story here on the Saanich Peninsula. And so, to me I think we can do, what needs to be done, as the kids are requesting – to reattach that name LÁU,WELNEW to that place, and tell that story when people go a visit that very beautiful park at the top of Mount Newton (8:23).


CHECK SIX NEWS | June 19, 2018


THE LEGEND OF ȽÁUWELṈEW (1:48, courtesy YouTube, W’S’ANEC School Board) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APQJnL74e5o

SENCOTEN Language Survival



Mount Newton, known as ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱ to First Nations, next on name-change list

By Judith Lavoie | Times Colonist, June 15, 2014

Mount Newton is next on the list of Greater Victoria landmarks that First Nations want to see restored to their traditional names.

The Saanich, or Wsanec, tribes know the mountain as ȽÁU,WELNEW, which means place of refuge in the Sencoten language.

“There’s big support for that one in the Saanich Nation because we have always held that mountain sacred,” said Tsawout hereditary chief Eric Pelkey, who spearheaded last week’s march up Mount Douglas to erect a sign bearing the traditional name Pkols.

The Mount Newton campaign is likely to start this fall, Pelkey said. Saanich elders have passed down the story of a great flood, believed to have taken place about 10,000 years ago, he said.

“The people that emerged from it did it by tying themselves to an arbutus tree on the top [of Mount Newton] with cedar ropes and their canoes and that’s how they survived the flood,” Pelkey said.

“When they came down they were called the emerging people and that’s where the name Wsanec came from.”

Grant Keddie, Royal B.C. Museum curator of archeology, said ȽÁU,WELNEW is well-documented as referring to Mount Newton and refers to the place of escape from the flood.

“There is some geological evidence that about 10,000 years ago there was a massive flood, which came down the Fraser River, probably as a result of an ice blockage, and that went across the Strait [of Georgia] and into Saanich Inlet,” Keddie said.

Legends also talk about Mount Newton as home of the thunderbird.

“So it is really quite a significant place,” he said.


 RESTORING THE TRADITIONAL NAME – ȽÁU,WELNEW | posted by Jarrett | July 13, 2014



On Sunday, September 21, 2014, members of the Saanich First Nation will host a march to restore Mount Newton`s traditional name, ȽÁU,WELNEW.

The march will likely commence at the parking lot, and follow the summit access road to the airport radar facility.

Tsawout hereditary chief Eric Pelkey said: “The area is sacred to the Saanich people and has been linked to its stories and history for tens of thousands of years. We`re acting on a long-held wish to reclaim the name ȽÁU,WELNEW.”

–          1852:  the name Mount Newton first appears on Joseph Pemberton’s peninsula map

–          1978:  Tsartlip elder Dave Elliott created the SENĆOŦEN Alphabet

–          1984:  the Saanich Indian School Board adopted the Dave Elliott Alphabet to help preserve the SENĆOŦEN language, culture and history

–          1990:  this author collaborated with W’S’ANEC elder Gabriol Bartlemen and BC Parks to name three trails within John Dean Park: THUNDERBIRD (ZINCO), LÁU,WELNEW and  SLEKTAIN   

–          2013:  the renaming action has the support of a wide variety of groups and community leaders

–          2014:  BC Parks has approved a permanent sign location at the summit, similar to the 2013 PKOLS sign carved by Artist Charles Elliott. An interruptive sign telling Legend of the Great Flood is planned for the Thunderbird Trailhead



HÍ SW̱ KE (thank you)




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