A recent letter to the Regional District submitted by Heritage Park Museum curator Kelsey Weibe on behalf of the museum board is the most recent gesture of support in a movement spawned by ex-regional district director Les Watmough to change the name of Sockeye Creek south of Terrace back to the original local name Eliza Creek.
According to both oral and written record, the letter reads, Sockeye Creek was once called Eliza Creek by locals after Eliza Thornhill, who was married to pioneer Tom Thornhill and sister to Kitselas chief Walter Wright.
The museum has joined a chorus of supporters including Terrace liaison to the regional district Lynne Christiansen as well as Kitselas Elder Francis Seymour.
There has been discussion over whether the original name should be restored to Eliza Creek or to have an earlier Sm’algyax combined with it.
The letter cites the importance of Eliza Thornhill in the history of the region, saying she is representative of a group of strong First Nations women who married white settlers like Tom and helped them survive in a world unfamiliar to them.
Eliza hunted, fished, and trapped, providing food as well as cash through the trading and selling of furs at Port Essington, the letter reads. The letter also quotes historian Floyd Frank who noted the name change in 1978, saying that “there’s only a few left that know these things.”