Could Cal­gary’s name be changed to Wichispa Oyade?

Lethbridge Herald - - ODDS & ENDS - John Cot­ter

If a group of First Na­tions get their wish, Cal­gary will be re­named Wichispa Oyade — Stoney Nakoda terms that roughly trans­late to mean el­bow town.

The Stoney Nakoda have ap­plied to have a long list of well-known places across south­ern Al­berta changed to re­flect tra­di­tional names given by their peo­ple.

Their ap­pli­ca­tion let­ter to the Al­berta gov­ern­ment also in­cludes Can­more, the Bow River, Mount Al­lan and dozens of other sites that they consider to be part of their ter­ri­tory.

“The Stoney Nakoda peo­ple are the orig­i­nal oc­cu­pants of the land and place names should be changed to their tra­di­tional Stoney Nakoda names in or­der to al­low the cul­ture and his­tory of these lands to be­come more known and re­spected,” reads the let­ter.

The First Na­tions ar­gue the English or Cree names many of these places have fail to re­flect their spe­cific Indige­nous his­tory.

“This lack of recog­ni­tion con­trib­utes to an in­creas­ing threat that Stoney Nakoda her­itage will be over­run.”

The Stoney Na­tions, de­scen­dants of the Sioux, in­clude three bands with the largest re­serve lo­cated west of Cal­gary.

They have been su­ing the prov­ince and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment over their abo­rig­i­nal and treaty rights, in­clud­ing land and re­sources, in a com­plex case that was orig­i­nally filed in 2003.

The claim cov­ers a big part of south­ern Al­berta and the east­ern slopes of the Rocky Moun­tains.

Some of the pro­posed name changes are fairly lit­eral trans­la­tions.

El­der Wal­lace Ear said the word for Bow River is Ijathibe Wapta, a place where peo­ple made bows out of saska­toon saplings.

They are also sug­gest­ing Mini Thni Wapta as an al­ter­na­tive, which means cold river, a de­scrip­tion that won’t sur­prise any­one who has ever tipped a ca­noe in the Bow.

The pro­posal for Can­more — Chuwapchipchiyan Kude Bi — has no di­rect con­nec­tion to its ex­ist­ing moniker. The town was named Can­more in the 1880s by a rail­way of­fi­cial af­ter an an­cient king of Scot­land.

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