ANTIGONISH: A pair of local councils is supporting a municipal partner in a drive to change signage at the Canso Causeway.
Last week, both Antigonish Town and County Councils offered their support for a letter issued by Port Hawkesbury Town Council which is asking Nova Scotia Premier and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Stephen McNeil add Unama’ki (the Mi’kmaq name for Cape Breton) to the sign welcoming visitors to the island
“We supported the letter for sure,” said Antigonish County Warden Owen McCarron. “We just see it as an extension of the relationship that we have with Paq’tnkek and we think it’s a good thing.”
Antigonish CAO Jeffery Lawrence said the town supported the letter as a means of supporting First Nations communities across the province.
“It makes a lot of sense that they be included on a sign on the bridge entering Cape Breton,” said Lawrence. “I think the Port Hawkesbury Mayor was just looking for support from the neighbouring municipalities.”
The Municipality of the District of Guysborough also sent a letter of support to the request from Port Hawkesbury.
At January’s regular monthly meeting, Port Hawkesbury Town Council approved a draft of the letter to be sent to the premier.
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said adding to the sign is a simple gesture that will make tremendous strides with regard to truth and reconciliation.
The idea came about during the “One Cape Breton: Future Forward Leaders’ Summit” that was held in Port Hawkesbury in November. During a panel discussion on Mi’kmaw and Municipal Relationships, Margaret Poulette, We’koqma’q elder and sister of the late Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, said she would like to see the traditional Mi’kmaq name represented at the entrance to the island.
The mayor said she would seek the support of all five First Nations Communities in Cape Breton in making the change, as well as the island’s five municipalities.
Chief Rod Googoo of We’koqma’q First Nation told The Reporter he agrees the change would be a positive one.