12 Indigenous names for updated Edmonton wards proposed

An all-female committee made up of 17 women representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis have chosen Indigenous names for Edmonton’s newly amended wards.

The proposed names will be discussed at the Sept. 21 city council meeting. If the bylaw is passed by Dec. 31, changes to ward boundaries and names would come into effect on the date of the next Edmonton general election: Oct. 18, 2021.

Read more: City council asks for Indigenous names to be chosen for Edmonton’s new ward boundaries

Indigenous elders and urban Indigenous community members asked councillors to consider renaming the updated wards with Indigenous names. On June 16, council asked city administration and the naming committee to explore new Indigenous names and return in the fall.

The committee of Indigenous matriarchs selected traditional names to honour sacred places and preserve history. They represent the Anishinaabe, Blackfoot, Cree, Dene, Inuit, Iroquois (Michel Band), Métis and Sioux nations.

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Elders and other community members were consulted as names were deliberated, the city said. The committee wanted each name to reflect Indigenous connections to the land in each ward.

Here is a list of the proposed names, their origin and what they mean:

Ward 1: Nakota Isga

Indigenous language of origin: Sioux
Meaning: The People. The Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation is the most northwestern representative of the Siouan language family.
Pronunciation: NAH-KOH-TAH EE-SKA

Ward 2: Anirniq

Indigenous language of origin: Inuktun
Meaning: Breath of Life. Honours history of Inuit people who received treatment at the Charles Camsell Hospital.
Pronunciation: A-NIRK-NIK

Ward 3: tastawiyiniwak (ᑕᐢᑕᐃᐧᔨᓂᐊᐧᐠ)

Indigenous language of origin: Cree
Meaning: The In-between People. Honours those who moved between gender roles and the LGBTQ2s community.
Pronunciation: TASS-TAW-EE-YIN-EE-WOK

Ward 4: Dene

Indigenous language of origin: Dene
Meaning: People of land and water. Refers to the various tribes that settled along the North Saskatchewan River – including Edmontonians who have settled and live here now.
Pronunciation: DEH-NEY

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Ward 5: O-day’min

Indigenous language of origin: Anishinaabe
Meaning: Strawberry or Heart-berry (The heart through which the North Saskatchewan River runs). Historical hub for many nations to meet and trade.
Pronunciation: OH-DEY-MIN

Ward 6: Métis

Indigenous language of origin: Michif
Meaning: Given the history of the area and the use of the riverlot system in this ward, a Métis name was chosen. The Métis trace their descendents to both Indigenous North Americans and European settlers.
Pronunciation: MAY-TEA

Ward 7: sipiwiyiniwak

Indigenous language of origin: Enoch Cree
Meaning: References the people of the Enoch Cree Nation being River Cree. In the past they were known as River Cree by other tribes.
Pronunciation: SEE-PEE-WIN-EE-WOK

Ward 8: papastew

Indigenous language of origin: papaschase
Meaning: papastew was a highly respected leader of the papaschase Band #136 and signed an adhesion to Treaty 6 in 1877. papastew translates to large woodpecker.
Pronunciation: PAH-PAH-STAY-OH

Ward 9: pihêsiwin

Indigenous language of origin: Cree
Meaning: Pays respect to the Thunderbird. This ward, from an aerial view, is shaped like a pihêsiw (thunderbird) and contains a ceremonial site.
Pronunciation: PAY-HE-SEE-WIN

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Ward 10: Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi

Indigenous language of origin: Blackfoot
Meaning: Traditional lands where the Blackfoot Nation performed Buffalo Rounds. It is known that bison would migrate up to 300 kilometres north of the North Saskatchewan River to the safety of artesian wells to gather for the winter.
Pronunciation: E-PEE-KO-KA-KNEE-PIU-TSI-YA

Ward 11: Karhiio

Indigenous language of origins: Mohawk (Michel First Nation)
Meaning: A tall, beautiful forest in the Mohawk language. Michel Karhiio was the chief of the Michel Band that was enfranchised in 1958. Where the town of Calahoo is now located.
Pronunciation: GAR-EE-HE-O

Ward 12: Sspomitapi

Indigenous language of origin: Blackfoot
Meaning: Sspomitapi means star person and was given in honour of the Iron Creek Meteorite or the Mintou Stone. The stone was shared by all tribes and was a place the Blackfoot would travel to and perform ceremony before the rock was taken in the 1800s by missionaries. It today is located at the Royal Alberta Museum.
Pronunciation: SS-POW-ME-TAH-PEE

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