New Madbin Jina sign at Point Pelee invites you to 'sit a while,' as park marks renaming of area
Renaming aims to advance reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous people
A new sign was put up in Point Pelee National Park this weekend that says Madbin Jina. It marks the renaming of an area of the park that was formerly called Pioneer.
Madbin Jina means "sit a while" in Anishinaabemowin.
The renaming is part of a number of projects trying to advance reconciliation and rebuild the traditional culture and history of the park.
"Over the last three years we have been putting a call-out to our Caldwell First nation citizens to submit names and a little story behind what that name means," said Carrie Ann Peters, cultural development co-ordinator for Caldwell First Nation.
"This was the name they chose that they felt suited the area."
It's important for the land to be acknowledged, sharing with visitors to the area what the "true history" is and the presence of Indigenous people in the region before colonization, said Nikki van Oirschot, the director of operations at Caldwell First Nation.
"It's very important for us in this process of reconciliation with Canada and with Parks Canada to have our traditional language and traditional territory recognized," she said.
The park is an "energetic" and important place to members of Caldwell First Nation, said Peters, as it's the land their ancestors once cared for.
LISTEN | Hear more about the name change:
"In picking this area, I and parks staff visited each day-use area in the park and it was a matter of 'is the space doable and allowable for ceremony use and workshop use and gatherings,'" she said. "With the ceremonies, we have fire and we build the lodges and we sit in big circles so the space had to be useable for all the things we would do there."
This part of the park is not a really used space, she explained, and is not rentable.
"We'll be able to implement other aspects of our teaching and culture to help educate the public," said Peters.
Members of Caldwell First Nation, Walpole Island First Nation and Parks Canada staff had a small gathering Sunday to welcome the renaming of the new area.
"It's a big milestone for us and a big achievement," said van Oirschot.
"I think the community is very proud."