“The Syilx language, when it talks about the land and describing place names on our territory, it’s a verbal map. That verbal map is so descriptive you know exactly where that place is they’re talking about. Those kinds of words, using the descriptions in our territory, you can’t go wrong to where you’re going – there’s no mistaking where that is and what that is. So, to me, the Syilx language is that kind of language that is really descriptive, where it doesn’t have that in English.” Richard Armstrong
Syilx placenames speak to the history of the Syilx people on the land. Place names are more than just names for a particular location; they provide teachings in the nsyilxcən language and speak to the relationship of the Syilx people and their land.
Place name mapping often provides evidence of temporal depth, use and occupancy above and beyond other forms of Indigenous research. As such it is considered a distinct process with a distinct methodology which utilizes a tried and tested 4-phased approach to gathering defensible toponymical data (Tobias).
Research, record, and map Syilx place names within the territory to be used for decision making processes and educational tools.
The Syilx people have undertaken and completed many Syilx placenames research projects which have been used to great effect to indicate presence in a region but also to identify specific use and occupancy areas within the territory. Recording and mapping placenames enables the ONA to utilize technological tools while preserving the valuable knowledge contained within place names.