Welcome to Atoqwa'sue'kaqn, Epekwitk: P.E.I. places marked with their Mi'kmaw names

P.E.I. is celebrating its Indigenous heritage with new signs marking communities with their Mi’kmaw names.

‘This history belongs to all Islanders’

Frank Joe Peters and Nancy Peters-Doyle in Mill River. It is one of 10 locations on P.E.I. with a new highway sign. (L'nuey)

P.E.I. is celebrating its Indigenous heritage with new signs marking communities with their Mi'kmaw names.

The 10 new highway signs are in place in time for Aboriginal Awareness Week, May 25-28, in a partnership between the province and L'nuey, a group that focuses on protecting and preserving the constitutionally entrenched rights of the Mi'kmaq on P.E.I.

"By including the rich history of the Mi'kmaq into P.E.I.'s culture and landscapes, we are recognizing a very important part of this Island's heritage," said Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould in a news release.

"We are all treaty people. This history belongs to all Islanders."

The Mi'kmaw name for Point Prim is Wejuowitk. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC)

The signs have been installed in Bedeque (Eptek), Cape Egmont (Mntuapskuk), Kensington (Kataqanek), Mill River (Atoqwa'sue'kaqn), Orwell (Mewisitek), Rice Point (Suomane'katik), Point Prim (Wejuowitk), Murray Harbour (Eskwatek), Montague (Mente'ken), and Souris (Sqoljwe'katik).

"Through sharing these Mi'kmaq place names, our goal is to include Mi'kmaq culture in the province's greater cultural identity," said Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard.

"This week is an opportunity to improve all Islanders' understanding of the Mi'kmaq, shared provincial history and our relationship as treaty people."

L'nuey notes many P.E.I. place names have Mi'kmaw origins, including, on this list, Bedeque and Montague.

There are 10 new highway signs in place. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC)

Both of these names are rooted in a direct association with the place. Eptek means "it is hot," and Mente'ken translates to "you (singular) strike it off with an instrument."

"Mi'kmaq place names are insights into the Island's geography and human history," the news release said. 

"Unlike many English language place names that have been transposed from locations in other countries or named after people, the Mi'kmaq names are rooted in a description of that specific location or highlight activities that would take place there."

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