Epekwitk Place Names
L’nuey engaged the Mi’kmaq community on their vision for their Rights and Reconciliation Initiative, which included a series of community-based consultation sessions held between December 2019 and March 2020, as well as an online survey.
A number of themes emerged from the visioning sessions. One of these was: “The importance of revitalizing Mi’kmaq language and culture.”
The overwhelming majority of those who attended the sessions felt that central to any discussion on Mi’kmaq nationhood is the return to tradition, whether that be language, ceremony, forms of government or land use.
Since 2020, in recognition of Indigenous Awareness Week, L’nuey and the Government of PEI have partnered to raise awareness of Mi’kmaq place names through our Signage Initiative across the province while celebrating Epekwitk’s Mi’kmaq history.
Mi’kmaq place names are insights into the Island’s geography and human history. Unlike many English language place names that have been transposed from locations in other countries or named after people, the Mi’kmaq names are rooted in a description of that specific location or highlight activities that would take place there.
By including the rich history of the Mi’kmaq into PEI’s culture and landscapes, there is a great deal that we can learn about this Island through knowledge of these place names and what they mean.
Miminegash? Montague? As some Islanders may know, numerous PEI place names have a Mi’kmaq language origin. However, few people know what they mean and represent. Miminegash, for instance, has its origins in the Mi’kmaq word “Elminikej,” which means “let us carry something animate on our shoulders.” Cardigan, traditionally known to the Mi’kmaq as “Wapuktuji’jk”, translates to “little white woods place”.
This is an important partnership with the province in the spirit of language revitalization and reconciliation. These place names are very descriptive and rooted in natural and human history, in geography, and they provide a window into how we traditionally went about our daily lives.
This brings to 29 the total number of Mi’kmaq place names/signs installed across PEI since 2020.
These signs have been installed in Belfast, West River, Bayview, Belle River, Cardigan, Murray River, East Point, Beech Point, Miminegash and Port Hill.