Naming Committee recommends consultation process for ceremonial Indigenous name

Published: April 7, 2022 @ 11:00 a.m.

Presented by Jon Taylor, Chair of the Naming Committee of Entity 51 at the Naming Committee meeting of April 6, 2022

This Committee will be recommending that the Council of the future Entity 51 determine a ceremonial Indigenous name for this municipality to accompany the legal name. This ceremonial name could be used in conjunction with the formal, legal name (potentially for things like welcome signs, land acknowledgements, etc.). This is a practice already used in Nova Scotia and Norway, the Committee was interested in pursuing it here as well, in the spirit of reconciliation.

As you may have seen at previous Council livestreams, there are a variety of potential Wolastoqey names that can apply to our area.

The importance of developing a ceremonial name was reinforced after discussion with both our Transition Facilitator and our Toponomy Expert from the Provincial government. Both have informed us that the time left to us to determine a legal name is simply too short, to include proposed Indigenous names that are not already in local use on the ballot. While the Town has engaged in consultation with Wolastoqiyik representatives to educate us all on potential Indigenous names for the municipality, the Province has told us that this consultation does not meet the standard of full and proper consultation.

Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop, and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places, and persons. We hope to encourage this revitalization and designation, provided that we are doing so with consultation that meets the full and proper standard of the Province. The Province is enthusiastically supporting the idea of a ceremonial name, and has brought the idea to other municipalities as well. Reconciliation with our treaty partners is vital, and we hope that this can contribute towards that goal.

As selecting an Indigenous ceremonial name is beyond the mandate of this Committee though, we will leave this initiative in the capable hands of the future Council of this municipality. We hope that they can engage in the kind of dedicated consultation necessary to develop a meaningful ceremonial name.

For more details from the Naming Committee of Entity 51 meeting of April 6, 2022, please visit here.