Traditional First Nation Community Names Map
After many years of research and interviews, the much-anticipated interactive version of the Manitoba Traditional First Nation Community Names mapping project is complete. It is available online at: http://mfnerc. org/community-map/.
The following are excerpts from an article that accompanies the map entitled “The Significance of Creating First Nation Traditional Names Maps” which details the rationale behind the project.
There are a variety of reasons why map making is undertaken. The general use of maps is for directions, topography, and identifying boundaries of countries, cities and townships. This article will underscore the importance of creating First Nation maps to promote the traditional names of communities in Manitoba. It is equally important to emphasize that the creation of First Nation maps also strengthens the basis for First Nation sovereignty through the infusion of the First Nation languages into the mainstream language and to promote the various First Nation distinct societies in Manitoba.
In Manitoba there are 64 recognized First Nations. These 64 communities are comprised of 5 distinct language groups. There are 7 Treaty areas that are represented in Manitoba: Treaties 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10. Of these 64 communities there are 30 Ojibway First Nations, 23 Cree First Nations, 5 Dakota First Nations, 4 Oji-Cree First Nations, and 2 Dene First Nations. Each language group is unique and some communities within a language category may have different dialects. Today, the majority of the First Nation communities in Manitoba are identified on maps with English pronounced words. In the past, the community members would refer to their geographic locations in their First Nation’s language. Today, there is a growing trend among the First Nations to identify their communities in their own language.
There is a limited number of research mapping projects that have been undertaken by First Nation peoples or organizations to reclaim the usage of traditional names for their communities on a provincial scale.
The overall objective of this mapping project is to promote awareness of First Nations peoples’ use of their own languages to identify their homelands. It also seeks to promote the historical significance of First Nations having always referred to their communities in their own languages before they were labeled with English words on a map. A further goal of the project is to infuse the Aboriginal languages into the mainstream language of English. If you have ever wondered what Opaskwayak or Sagkeeng mean in Cree or Ojibway, now you have the opportunity to learn, as well as more about the meanings of Manitoba’s First Nation community names.
Find the complete article at: http:// www.mfnerc.org/2015/05/traditional-first-nation-community-names/
To use the map: Simply click on the place name of the First Nation and a video will appear with a community member providing an explanation of what the name means in the First Nation language.
For a USB version of the map: Email Val Bighetty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A revised 2015 printed version of the map will also be available at the end of June, 2015.
MFNERC would like to thank all the community members who graciously donated their time to educate everyone about the meaning of their First Nation in their own language.