Give the Cornwallis River back it's original Mi'kmaq name

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Before European settlers arrived in Nova Scotia, the indigenous people (the Mi'kmaq) had a name for the twisting tidal river that flows through the Annapolis Valley. They called it Jijuktu’kwejk (pronounced gee gee wook took), meaning the narrow river.

Settlers arrived and gave it their own name, in fact several different names, before eventually it became the Cornwallis river, named after the person who tried to exterminate the First Nations people whose land it is. We feel that it is time to give the river back it's original name. The province does not need this reminder of Cornwallis, and there is certainly no need or desire to commemorate or glorify him.  The current name of the river is a constant reminder to the Mi'kmaq of the man who offered a bounty on their scalps. I would love to see the river given it's proper name; there are so few indigenous place names in the local area (and already so many named after individuals like Cornwallis).

The Annapolis Valley First Nation first requested a name change back in 2011, and in 2016 they submitted a request to GeoNova, the body that governs place names in Nova Scotia. The process takes a long time, and a show of public feeling through this petition would help demonstrate that the public support this motion.

The province knows the name causes offence; in 2015 they removed the signs in various points naming it the 'Cornwallis River'. Now they should do the right thing and give it back it's original name. This is a very current issue, with the protests at the Cornwallis statue in Halifax, the discussion of the MacDonald name currently used for many high schools in Ontario, and further afield the issues with Confederate monuments in the USA. History will not forget Cornwallis if the river name is changed, but perhaps it will honour the history of the people who were there before.

 



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