Statement from Minister McKenna on the name change of an important national historic site
February 16, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario Parks Canada Agency
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, today issued the following statement on the name change of Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst National Historic Site of Canada:
“The Government of Canada is committed to nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. No relationship is more important to the Government and to Parks Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples. Many Parks Canada settings, events, and activities offer opportunities for connecting Canadians to Indigenous cultures and histories.
The Government of Canada commemorates persons, places and events of national historic significance on the recommendation of the arms-length Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC). The HSMBC is aware of public concerns related to sites, events, or persons of national historic significance with ties to colonialism, racism, or other forms of discrimination.
As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I am pleased to confirm that in the spirit of reconciliation, the HSMBC, on the recommendation of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, will give the Mi’kmaq name “skmaqn” (pronounced Ska-MAA-kin) to the Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site. “Skmaqn” means “the waiting place” and is thought to have its origins in the years 1725-1758 when Mi’kmaq and French leaders met annually at the site to renew their relationship and military alliance.
The official name of the site will now be Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site of Canada. The Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site of Canada is a place where we can learn about the lived experiences of the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, French, and British, including darker chapters of Canada’s history such as the treatment of Indigenous peoples and the deportation of Acadians.
Parks Canada is committed to working respectfully with Indigenous peoples, and to a system of national heritage places that recognizes Indigenous traditions, cultures and contributions to Canada. The Agency recognizes the invaluable contributions of Indigenous peoples to our work – from establishing and conserving heritage places to enhancing visitor experience by sharing stories and cultural traditions.”
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