Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry looks on as Premier John Horgan discusses reopening the province’s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Dr. Bonnie Henry has been given a Gitxsan name.

In a ceremony conducted at Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School (MGA) in Hazelton and attended by Dr. Henry via Zoom May 22, the province’s top doctor was named “Gyatsit sa ap dii’m” meaning “one who is calm among us.”

“It’s a pretty apt description,” said Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson, who also attended via Zoom and described the ceremony.

“They had a number of teachers and hereditary chiefs in the gymnasium at MGA, and they were all self-distancing, and like is done in the feast hall, her name was called out three times to verify it by different people chosen to call her name.

“She seemed very, very touched. She spoke and thanked the Gitxsan, she was emotional for sure.”

THE LATEST: Dr. Henry ‘encouraged’ as B.C. records two days of single-digit COVID-19 case increases

A number of other people also spoke, Donaldson said.

“It was really nice, it was an uplifting ceremony.”

School District 82 acting school superintendent Janet Meyer also spoke, thanking Henry for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meyer said she appreciated Henry’s calm approach, noting that she has used some of Henry’s own words in her communications with school district staffers and families of students.

Donaldson, who has lived all his life in the Hazeltons, said while it is not uncommon for Gitxsan houses to adopt people based on family connections or skill sets needed within the house groups, this was a bigger occasion.

“I’d say it happens infrequently enough that it’s still special,” he explained. “In this case, it was clear it was an all clans ceremony and just in recognition, people thanked her so much for her work and obviously her (Gitxsan) name certainly reflects that.”

Black Press Media is also reaching out to Dr. Henry for a comment.

Henry came to daily prominence in B.C. after the coronavirus pandemic reached the province and has been lauded by other governments and the international media for her methodical and reassuring approach to the crisis.

She is largely credited with the success B.C. has had in flattening the curve of virus transmission and keeping the province’s number of infections and death rate relatively low.

Henry has been provincial health officer (PHO) since 2018. Prior to that she served as deputy PHO, executive director of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, coordinated Toronto’s response to SARS in 2003 and worked on the front lines of Uganda’s Ebola outbreak in 2001.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Homeless to be relocated from temporary Vernon shelter

Homeless shelters in the city have been combined into one site at the curling rink since April

Armstrong food sharing program set to return

Armstrong Food Initiative Society will start its produce sharing program Monday, July 13

Boil water notice issued for Vernon’s Dunsmir Road area

Map shows which customers are advised to use caution when consuming water

Single lane traffic for Bella Vista in Vernon next week

Work planned for Monday, Wednesday to complete utility installation

Lake Country traffic bottleneck solution still lacks funding

No money committed yet but province will unveil solution options for Highway 97- Beaver Lake Road-Glenmore Road intersection this fall

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read