Calgary

Rocky Mountain peak officially given traditional Stoney Nakoda name, erasing racist label

A prominent mountain peak in Alberta's Rocky Mountains has officially been given the name it was called by Indigenous people for generations. 

Peak near Canmore will now be known as Anû Kathâ Îpa (Bald Eagle Peak)

Chief Aaron Young of Chiniki First Nation says this peak near Canmore, newly renamed as Bald Eagle Peak, or Anû Kathâ Îpa, honours First Nations women. (CBC)

A prominent mountain peak in Alberta's Rocky Mountains has officially been given the name it was called by Indigenous people for generations. 

The feature, located near the summit of Mount Charles Stewart, has had a racist and sexist nickname since the 1920s.

The formation, visible from the mountain town of Canmore, will now be known by its original Stoney Nakoda name, Anû Kathâ Îpa, or Bald Eagle Peak.

Chief Aaron Young of Chiniki First Nation said his daughter voiced anger at the mountain's "shameful and derogatory" name for years. 

"Today, we will certainly honour our women.… It is on behalf of them that I stand here today with our council and elders to give thanks to our creator for guiding us in the naming of Bald Eagle Peak, Anû Kathâ Îpa," Young said on Monday, standing in front of the peak. 

"A racist and sexist term has finally been cast aside. The Stoney people are grateful."

Young said the peak's traditional name comes from the mountain's location along eagle migratory routes. He said it was traditionally a location where locals would collect feathers.

Government officials and elders gathered to announce the official renaming of Bald Eagle Peak near Canmore, Alta., on Monday. (CBC)

The peak was renamed during a ceremony with Stoney Nakoda elders last year, but Monday's announcement marked the official change — meaning the landmark will be updated on provincial and federal place-name databases and maps.

The landmark was previously known as S---w's T-t. The first word, which comes from the Algonquin language, once simply meant woman but has since evolved into a term used to disparage Indigenous women.

The province is also working toward renaming another offensively nicknamed mountain in Banff National Park. Provincial officials said the government is working together with Parks Canada and Indigenous communities to identify a new name. 

"Sadly, sometimes the common names given to places are inappropriate and offensive, even an embarrassment to use," said Alberta Culture Minister Ron Orr. "We're correcting the official record for two of those places."

Bald Eagle Peak, right, and a mountain near Banff, left, are being renamed to erase nicknames that were derogatory toward Indigenous women. (Google Maps)

With files from the Canadian Press

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