Mr. Chair, Fredericton is a riding crossed by a river. On an official map, I will read that its name is the Saint John, but for the Wolastoqiyik people, it's name is Wolastoq, meaning the beautiful and bountiful river. It is indeed beautiful.
For centuries, the river has been a source of friendship, trade and identity. We are witnessing here and around the world a movement to reclaim spaces. Colonial stories have been imposed on mountains, statues, streets and rivers across Canada in an effort to erase and rewrite.
If we want a culture to not only survive but thrive, it must be an integral part of our environment. Indigenous names of spaces are a powerful way to inscribe the landscape with meaning and show reverence.
My question is to the heritage minister. By working with first nation communities and respecting their jurisdiction and priorities, will his government lead initiatives to create public policies in recognition of indigenous place names?