PEI

Lennox Island votes to keep name

Lennox Island First Nation has voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping its name.

‘If it had went the other way, and it was Malpek or Kikji-Sipukwek, I would have been just as pleased'

Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard, centre, unveils a new logo for the First Nation along with councillors, Richard Guimond, left, and Wendell Labobe. The community voted to keep the name Lennox Island during a vote released on Sunday. (Corinne Dyment )

Lennox Island First Nation has voted overwhelmingly to keep its name

More than 220 members of the western Prince Edward Island community — living on-reserve and off-reserve —cast ballots to decide whether to keep the name Lennox Island.

The alternatives were two Mi'kmaq names — Malpek or Kikji-Sipukwek.

Malpek means shallow water. Although it does not have the Mi'kmaq spelling, the current day Malpeque originates from the Mi'kmaq word.

Kikji-Sipukwek means the place where it stretches out and follows close and near the shore. It is the Mi'kmaq name for the Lennox Channel, the body of water that separates the island from P.E.I.

Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard said that while the community decided to keep its name, the process achieved its goal of increasing the status and awareness of the Mi'kmaq language.

This is the new logo unveiled Sunday for the Lennox Island First Nation. (Lennox Island First Nation)

"I felt that I needed to put it out there," Bernard said after the announcement was made Sunday.

"I think that if it would have went the other way, and it was Malpek or Kikji-Sipukwek, I would have been just as pleased, but I think that my heart is with Lennox Island so I can't be displeased."

There were 223 votes cast.

About 52 per cent supported keeping the name Lennox Island.

About 35 per cent voted for Malpek while 13 per cent chose Kikji-Sipukwek.

The band did unveil a new logo for Lennox Island. 

'This is the Mi'kmaq language'

Bernard said the new logo is a circle, representing the talking circle where all voices are heard.

It is surrounded by a braid of sweet grass, which is plentiful on the island, with the Mi'kmaq double curve above and below the words Lennox Island First Nation.

Bernard said the double curve represents balance, important in the Mi'kmaq culture.

This is a look at the current logo for the Lennox Island First Nation. (Moira Donovan/CBC)

"I love Lennox Island," she said. "Lennox Island will always be my home and it's a place I always speak about from my heart. I will continue to be the ambassador for Lennox Island and be very, very proud of it."

The announcement was made as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations on the island.

Bernard said the P.E.I. government has agreed to keep and expand an initiative to place Mi'kmaq heritage signage along Island roadways.

She said that, along with the vote that took place over the name Lennox Island, are all part of initiatives to increase the status of the Mi'kmaq language on the Island. 

"This is the Mi'kmaq language. It's the first language of Abegweit and it belongs to all of us," said Bernard.

"We have to continue to engage and do the work necessary to revitalize our language for future generations and for all Islanders."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

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