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Ottawa parkway officially renamed Kichi Zibi Mikan

The Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway in Ottawa's west end is now officially the Kichi Zībī Mīkan.

The National Capital Commission held a ceremony to unveil the new sign for the Kichi Zībī Mīkan on Friday ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Jenny Buckshot Tenasco is a residential school survivor, and had a hand in choosing the parkway's new name, which means "Great River Road" in Algonquin.

"I think it's about time that it happens," Tenasco said. "Kichi Zibi is where all the Anishinaabe people met. Our ancestors. And so it should have been named that right from the beginning."

Dozens of people from Indigenous communities attended the event in Ottawa's west end. 

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Chief Dylan Whiteduck says there have been calls to change the name of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway for more than 10 years, and the new name represents the area's history.

"The Ottawa River was our main source of abundance for food, fish," Whiteduck says. "It was our way of moving forward, up and down the rivers and our people inhabited these areas for a millenia." 

The National Capital Commission says the name was chosen based on feedback from Indigenous leaders and community members.

"I can't imagine a better name for our parkway that runs alongside a fantastic waterway in the nation's capital, which recognizes Algonquin history and culture," NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum said. 

And those passing by say they like the name change.

"Kind of removing a bit of history but then maybe in the context of today's environment you might need to change that a bit," Ottawa resident Ivar Upitis said. "So I can kind of see both sides. Either keeping it or changing it."

"I think it's wonderful," said one person along the parkway on Friday.

"It acknowledges that there were Indigenous people who live on this land. You know, I have no problems with that," said another passer-by. 

The new Kichi Zībī Mīkan sign now stands tall, as thousands of drivers pass by it every day. A reminder of the ancestral lands of Indigenous communities.

"I'm just glad that we were able to educate people today about what happened, you know, and what families went through, and the trauma that we all went through," Tenasco said. Top Stories

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