Halifax study of place names a 'great opportunity for cultural awareness'
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- The use of the name Micmac could soon be eliminated from streets, parks and facilities within the Halifax Regional Municipality. A motion to do just that passed first reading at city council earlier this week.
"It was my expectation that there will be a community discussion to be had both with people on the affected streets but also with the Mi'kmaw and the Black communities," said Halifax Regional Coun. Sam Austin.
The move has been applauded by some.
Halifax Regional Coun. Pam Lovelace's district is home to two different First Nations communities.
"I heard from Mi'kmaw families who have said, 'This is a great opportunity for cultural awareness, for discussion within the community about to place names and what that means for all of us,'" Lovelace said.
Others however say the use of the name Micmac isn't a big deal.
"It's generational," said Mi'kmaw activist Rebecca Thomas. "My father says Micmac, he’s 77, he’s a residential school survivor and when he was growing up in residential schools that's what priests and nuns called him, so that’s how he identifies and I don’t have a right to say, 'Dad, you’re mispronouncing your nation's name,'" Thomas said.
Thomas says the majority of the support for the renaming movement, for the most part, is coming from the younger generation.
"It would be nice to see it change to something completely different, right?" Thomas said. "There’s lots of Mi'kmaw people you could honour, there’s lots of African Nova Scotia folks you could honour."
The renaming motion is now in the hands of city staff who are preparing a report for council. There's no word on when that report will be ready.
Private businesses like Micmac Mall and provincially-named properties are not a part of the motion put forward by Austin.