Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Steelhead LNG are pleased to announce that the co-managed LNG project in Sarita has a new name. Following recommendations from the LNG Advisory Committee, Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council has approved the name Kwispaa (Kwis-pa-a) LNG project.
The traditional name reflects Huu-ay-aht’s elders and its rich history and connection to the land and territory, as well as its stake in this project. Keeping in line with the co-management and in the spirit of reconciliation, Steelhead LNG agreed to change the name of the project.
Kwispaa means “on the other side,” because it is on the other side of the bay from Nuumaqamis, Huu-ay-aht’s winter village at the mouth of the Sarita River. The Sarita River is a very important site for Huu-ay-aht People. It is the “Heart of the People” and is the most important of 35 rivers and creeks in the Traditional Territory. Sarita is a European place name given by Spanish settlers when they arrived in Huu-ay-aht’s territory.
Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. says that renaming the project Kwispaa respects Huu-ay-aht’s elders and the Nations’ traditional values. The name was discovered by two ethnographic researchers studying the region following a conversation with Robert Sport, historian and speaker for then hereditary chief Arthur Peters.
The European name has colonial association and reflects an era of assimilation and negative impacts on Huu-ay-aht’s culture and community.
Naming the project after the site’s traditional and true name demonstrates Steelhead LNG’s commitment to reconciliation, co-management, and their strong relationship with Huu-ay-aht as the Nation and Steelhead develop the project together.
Huu-ay-aht and Steelhead are working on a place to publicly announce the name change in mid-November.