Rendering of Red Fish Healing Centre

θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’/Red Fish Healing Centre

August 12 2020

Alongside our partners – the Kwikwetlem First Nation, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) – we’re pleased to share the name of a new building under construction on the Riverview Lands. θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’ (or Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction) is scheduled to open late in 2021 as a treatment option for people who have complex mental health and/or substance use needs.

The building will serve some of B.C.’s most vulnerable populations, and its programming will play an important role within the Province’s continuum of care for people who need support with mental health or substance use. Lead by BCMHSUS, the intent of the space is to promote healing and recovery; with these themes in mind, it’s also essential that reconciliation sit at the heart of the building’s design and name.

Those who visit the Riverview Lands will see cultural elements that are meaningful to the Kwikwetlem First Nation, on whose traditional territory the building will stand. The name θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm – the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ term for “Red Fish Healing Centre” – honours the relationship that the Kwikwetlem peoples have with the salmon living in the Coquitlam River. In fact, the name Kwikwetlem itself means “Red Fish Up the River.” 

"For generations, the people of the Kwikwetlem First Nation have been stewards of the lands on which the Red Fish Healing Centre is being built,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs. “This new name is an important step in honouring that connection, and we will continue to develop more opportunities like this as we work with the Nation to move forward on our shared long-term vision for Riverview."

Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ is the traditional dialect of the Kwikwetlem First Nation. It was once spoken widely across the Lower Mainland and carries knowledge of the landscape, passed generation to generation, that connect people to the land.  BC Housing encourages users and visitors of the Riverview Lands to share in this history and learn the Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm words used on-site.

The word θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’ contains sounds and characters that some readers may not be familiar with, for example:

  • the theta (θ) is pronounced “th”

  • The glottal stop (ʔ) is a pause, like the sound in the middle of “Uhoh”

  • The dental (ɫ) sound is made by placing your tongue near your top front teeth and blowing

  • The “q” sound is similar to the English-speaker's “k” but with the tongue placed slightly farther back on the roof of the mouth

  • The schwa character (ə) may look new to English-speakers, but it’s the most common sound within the English language, sounding like “uh”

  •  Click for an audio pronunciation created by the Kwikwetlem First Nation

As the service provider operating θəqiʔ ɫəwʔənəq leləm’, BCMHSUS plans to introduce several innovative health-care features within the building: dedicated spaces for research/education and virtual technologies like fully digital client records. Both the programming and the building – designed with input from clients, families, indigenous communities, physicians and other staff – will follow best practices in the area of trauma-informed care. It will replace and expand on the services currently available at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

We look forward to providing updates as construction progresses. For any questions, email us at [email protected].