'Your name will be Day Star': Don Iveson gets spirit name

Mayor Don Iveson has a new name. It translates to Day Star from the Cree words kîsikâw acâhkos — a new spirit name bestowed on him Thursday by an elders advisory committee.

Elders recognize Edmonton mayor for his work in Indigenous training

Mayor Don Iveson, City Manager Linda Cochrane and Talent Management and Support Services Branch Manager Jeff MacPherson were gifted with spirit names Thursday at a ceremony at city hall. 1:01

Mayor Don Iveson has a new name.

It translates to Day Star from the Cree words kîsikâw acâhkos — a new spirit name bestowed on him Thursday by an elders advisory committee.

Iveson received the recognition for his commitment to Indigenous awareness training, which has been offered at the city for the past three years.

Betty Letendre from the Papaschase band announced the name at a ceremony Thursday.

"We don't see stars during the day. They're always there," she said. "The star spirit chose you."

Letendre said the elders felt a sense of justice to see the city move forward with educating staff on the history and intergenerational impact of residential schools. Iveson said he's proud of the initiative.

"I am deeply honoured to receive this gift from you today," he told the ceremony.  

More than 8,000 city employees, including police and fire fighters, have completed training that was one of 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The elders from the Papaschase Band, Enoch Cree Nation, Metis Nation of Alberta, Saddle Lake First Nation and Samson Cree Nation chose the name.

Iveson said the training recognizes treaty rights and promotes meaningful consultation.

"We were all so many of us ignorant," he said. "Now we have the knowledge, now we have the truth thanks to the training."

He said it's an opportunity to make sure everyone in the city is able to act "with that compassion and that understanding for fellow Edmontonians whatever circumstances they may be in."

City manager Linda Cochrane was also given a spirit name, which translates to Grandmother Fox from the Cree notokwew mahkêsîs.

Talent Management and Support Services branch manager Jeff MacPherson is now called White Raven — ewâpiskisit kâhkâkiw.