Shubenacadie band changes name to traditional Sipekne'katik
Sipekne'katik means 'where the wild turnips or wild potatoes grow'
The Shubenacadie band, Nova Scotia's second largest First Nations group, has restored the traditional spelling and pronunciation of its name and will now be known as Sipekne'katik.
Chief Rufus Copage said the name is literally rooted in the earth.
"The Mi'kmaq spelling Sipekne'katik means the area where the wild turnips or wild potatoes grow," he said Tuesday.
The band has been using the name Sipekne'katik internally since passing a council resolution in November. An official acknowledgement from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada came earlier this week.
Copage said returning to the traditional spelling is about community identity.
"It was a way of showing our people that we're pretty proud of who we are," he said.
"You have the town of Shubenacadie — Sipekne'katik will more identify us separate from the little town of Shubenacadie."
Nathan Sack, the director of operations for Sipekne'katik, said the band has already adopted a new logo and a revised website will be coming soon.
"The only other thing we're looking at doing now is updating our email system. We just purchased a number of domain names attributed to Sipekne'katik," he said.
Sack said there's nothing wrong with the English pronunciation Shubenacadie — he simply prefers the Mi'kmaq version.
"I don't want to call it mispronunciation because I don't want to offend people who are proud of Shubenacadie. I don't want to tell an entire village that Shubenacadie is wrong," he said.
"But what I want to say is Sipekne'katik is right for us, the Mi'kmaq."
The wild potato or groundnut was a traditional food source for the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia, according to Roger Lewis of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History.