New Brunswick

Fredericton backs First Nations effort to rename Savage Island

Fredericton city council is supporting a man's campaign to change the name of Savage Island to something inoffensive to local First Nations people.

Fredericton city council is supporting a man's campaign to change the name of Savage Island to something inoffensive to local First Nations people.

Percy Sacobie is leading the push to rename the small island in the St. John River about seven kilometres west of Fredericton.

In a letter he sent to the Fredericton city council, which was endorsed by six Maliseet chiefs, he argued that the island be called Eqpahak, which he said means "at the head of tide on river or inlet."

"The name savage is degrading and offensive and in this day of age, as in the past, such ethnocentric views should not be used or tolerated to describe a people or a place," Sacobie's letter said.

"The name Eqpahak Island would be [a] more appropriate name to describe this island."

Although the island is not within Fredericton's city limits, Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside is backing Sacobie's fight to change the island's name.

"I think it's important to note that I did meet with this gentleman, and asked the question — and I'm sure other people would ask the same question — on whether or not that name had any historical significance with respect to a family with the name of Savage, and I have been assured that's not the case," Woodside said.

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