The City is asking for input from residents on the shortlist of possible Indigenous language names for what is now called “the Third Crossing.” The name chosen for the bridge is intended to recognize and honour Indigenous culture and history in Kingston and area.
“We know that as a City we need to broaden our understanding of Kingston’s history by incorporating more Indigenous stories, and to facilitate a community dialogue that prioritizes reconciliation,” says Mayor Paterson. “The naming of the new bridge – the City’s largest ever infrastructure project – is one step towards these important goals. This is about building bridges, not only from one shore of the Cataraqui to the other, but within our community as we work toward healing.”
Choosing the proposed Indigenous names
Early in the naming process, broad community input was sought to gather initial name suggestions, confirm naming themes and begin defining criteria for the shortlist name selection. Six virtual meetings were held with Indigenous Nations and interested local Indigenous community members and residents and a consensus was reached on the shortlist of potential names for the new bridge. The list includes 6 names, three in Kainien’keha (Mohawk) and three in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe).
The Short List of Names (in alphabetical order)
Aazhogan (AH-jo-GAN) - Aazhogan is the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for “bridge”, or a structure that allows for people, animals, or vehicles to safely cross a body of water.
"Let's take the Aazhogan to the Kingston East Community Centre"
Àhskwa’ (As-KWA) - Àhskwa’ is the Kainien’keha (Mohawk) word for “bridge” and was the naming submission brought forward by the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Like Aazhogan, using Àhskwa’ to name the bridge honours Indigenous conventions of naming objects by describing what it is and how it will be used.
"The Àhskwa’ will take you straight to the Pittsburgh Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library."
Nibi (NEE-BEE) - Nibi is the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for "water". This name honours the river that the bridge crosses and provides many educational opportunities to teach about the significance and sacredness of water in its many forms.
"We watched the kayakers from the lookout on the Nibi bridge this afternoon."
Ohne:Ka (Oh-NAY-ga) - Ohne:ka is the Kainien’keha (Mohawk) word for "water". Like Nibi this name honours the river and water that the bridge crosses.
"We watched the kayakers from the lookout on the Ohne:Ka bridge this afternoon"
Tekarón:yake (Deh-ga-ROON-ya-ge) - Tekarón:yake means “Two Skies” in Kainien’keha (Mohawk) and brings to mind the image of the sky reflecting off the water. This name serves both as a beautiful image and a metaphor for people coming together to create beauty and peace for the next seven generations.
"I watched the sun rise as I walked the dogs across the Tekarón:yake bridge this morning."
Waaban (WAA-ban) - Waaban is an Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) word with interpretations relating to the eastern direction where the sun comes up, the dawn of a new day, or the morning light. This word was put forward to represent both the natural environment that the bridge crosses and as a hopeful metaphor, with Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians working together toward a better world for future generations.
"My Granddaughter and I walked along the Waaban bridge this afternoon."
“The concept of building and strengthening relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians has been a recurring theme throughout many of the discussions surrounding the Third Crossing,” says Jennifer Campbell, Director Heritage Services. “Many important discussions surrounding nature and environmental themes as well as Indigenous worldviews allowed participants to come up with six potential names that we are excited to engage with residents about.”
Public engagement on the names will run until Nov. 29, 2021 and will include: information sessions with local businesses and organizations, presentations to school classes in Kingston, a survey asking residents for input on the shortlist of names, and an educational campaign that includes a video and an information document on the list of potential names.
The City and consultants, First Peoples Group, will then reconvene with Indigenous Nations and interested members of the local Indigenous community on feedback received. The preferred name will be confirmed and then presented to Mayor and Council for affirmation and then announced to the public.
Commitment to reconciliation
The City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation. The City acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land. Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.
Get involved and share your ideas!
Residents can offer feedback in the following ways:
- Complete the surveys: From Oct.25 to Nov. 29, go to Get Involved Kingston to view the conversation and to complete surveys to let staff know your comments and how you’d rank the shortlist of names. You can also complete the surveys by phone or request a mailed paper copy by calling 613-546-0000.
- Watch a video for pronouncing the shortlist of names: Hear how to pronounce the Mohawk and Ojibwe names by listening to a video.
- Read about the naming themes, concepts and meanings: Read how the names were chosen, the criteria and meaning behind the names.
Residents are encouraged to learn more about the naming process on the Third Crossing website.