“To be able to use a Mohawk or an Ojibwe name for the most important, largest infrastructure project in our city’s history is a great tangible action that is fostering understanding and learning of each other’s cultures.” – Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson.
The City of Kingston has announced six potential Indigenous names for Kingston’s Third Crossing bridge after over 100 submissions and several consultations with Indigenous Nations, with the final name to be announced in early 2022.
The shortlist of potential bridge names includes: Aazhoogan, Àhskwa’, Nibi, Ohne:ka, Tekarón:yake, and Waaban.
Aazhoogan (pronounced AH-jo-GAN) is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for ‘bridge.’
Àhskwa’ (pronounced As-KWA) means ‘bridge’ in Kainien’keha (Mohawk).
Nibi (pronounced NEE-BEE) is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for’“water.’
Ohne:ka (pronounced (Oh-NAY-ga) is a Kainien’keha (Mohawk) word for ‘water.’
Tekarón:yake (pronounced Deh-ga-ROON-ya-ge) means “Two Skies” in Kainien’keha (Mohawk).
Waaban (WAA-ban) is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word that has several meanings and interpretations relating to the eastern direction where the sun comes up, the dawn of a new day or the morning light.
“To be able to use a Mohawk or an Ojibwe name for the most important, largest infrastructure project in our city’s history is a great tangible action that is fostering understanding and learning of each other’s cultures,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said during the announcement, held over Zoom on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.
“This is an exciting moment, a milestone moment. We are a city and a community of great history. This is a great way to add to it, it’s adding to the understanding to those pieces of history that were not well understood or well acknowledged,” the mayor added.
One of the key ideas that had emerged in the City’s community conversations was, ‘How can we add to Indigenous history in our local community?’ explained Paterson.
“One of the suggestions was an infrastructure project that we can name after something of Indigenous history. It just happened that we have the largest infrastructure project the city has ever embarked on (Third Crossing bridge),” Paterson said.
“My hope is that this name is just one piece to lead people into further discussions and relationship building as we take those next steps in the road to reconciliation here in Kingston.”
The criteria that were used for the shortlist include staying true to the Indigenous naming process (should not be named after a person), seeking concepts or words that can be described in multiple languages, considering the functionality of safety and the need for respect in travel and movement across water, and providing opportunities for community education.
Jennifer Campbell, Director of Heritage Services for the City of Kingston, said that the announcement today marks the start of step three out of a six-step process. Step three involves receiving community feedback through the City’s Get Involved website, from Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 until Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.
An educational outreach to local students and teachers, as well as information sessions for businesses and community organizations will also be included in this stage.
Step four commences in late Fall 2021, and will involve reconvening with Indigenous nations and members of the local Indigenous community members on the feedback received through engagement, as well as selecting and confirming one name through a consensus building process.
Step five will be a report to the Mayor and council, with recommendation to confirm the selected name, followed by step six, the public announcement of the name, and community education around the name’s meaning, intent and, uses.
“When we close the public feedback on November 29, staff will begin taking in all that information and reconvening with Indigenous representations and community members,” said Campbell.
“We expect those meetings will happen in December, which will see us bringing recommendation to council in January 2022. We don’t expect it will take a great deal of time once we receive input. We’re looking at public announcement in early 2022.”
“It’s an exciting moment. My hope is that one name emerges as a frontrunner and from there it becomes a common thing that people talk about. It’s a big moment for the community,” Mayor Paterson expressed.
“It’s hard to believe that the Third Crossing’s going to be open in a year.”