Prince Edward Island’s Confederation Bridge could be getting a name change.
Members of the PEI legislature voted to propose a motion that would see the bridge’s name changed to Epekwitk Crossing.
Epekwitk is the Mi’kmaw word for “something lying on the water” — the traditional name the Mi’kmaq used to describe the Island for generations.
Premier Dennis King urges the federal government to approve the change as a great form of reconciliation with the Mi’kmaq people.
As the island’s minister responsible for Indigenous relations, he said it’s of the utmost importance Indigenous languages are respected and recognized.
“I have been in conversation with Dominic Leblanc, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and asked him to tell me what the process is for the federal government to actually follow through on this,” said King.
“His office is working with mine to try and determine what that is.”
The 12.9-kilometre bridge that links P.E.I. with New Brunswick was built in 1997. In the early 1990s, a committee sought to name the bridge Abegweit Crossing, the anglicized, colonial term for Epekwitk.
According to The Canadian Press, the committee also supplied Confederation Bridge and Northumberland Strait Bridge as two alternatives. Ottawa chose Confederation Bridge on Sept. 27, 1996.
Kings said the name change would mean a lot to many in the region, including the Mi’kmaq population.
“I look forward to the day we can drive across the Epekwitk Crossing, Mr. Speaker,” he said. “It would mean so much to so many, in particular our Mi’kmaq, to see that name and to really feel that sense of place.”