New St. Albert transit centre gets a Cree name – nakî

By Laura Mushumanski

(ANNews) – The $30 million facility previously known as the Campbell Road Park and Ride Transit Centre in St. Albert, Alberta, will be getting a nehiyawewin makeover.  St. Albert Mayor, Cathy Heron, announced on August 5th that the newest transit centre in St. Albert will be given a nehiyawewin name, nakî.

In Plains Cree and Michif – the Metis language consisting of nehiyawewin verbs and french nouns – nakî translates to ‘stop’; making “na-gee” easy to pronounce for non-Indigenous speakers. The ‘kî’ used in standard roman orthology when writing in nehiyawewin, is pronounced ‘gee’, and the  consonant ‘k’ in nehiyawewin sounds like the letter ‘g’ from the English language.

nakî was named by the City of St. Albert after consulting with St. Albert’s task force for Indigenous reconciliation, the Payhonin Working Circle. Naming the transit centre nakî is not only relevant because it literally translates to ‘stop here’ but also important as nehiyawewin names are often anglicized by non-nehiyawewin speakers.

According to Indigenous history, St. Albert was a place where our ancestors would prepare themselves for their journey ahead by gathering food and supplies. During the fur trade, the valley which St. Albert resides on provided services for fur traders and travellers to shoe their horses or purchase supplies before heading to Fort Edmonton or Athabasca Landing; St. Albert was the place to ‘stop’.

Naming the community transit centre nakî acknowledges the languages of Treaty 6 Territory- home of the nehiyawewin ekwa âpihtawikosisân (Cree and Metis) nations. Acknowledging the land represents honouring and paying respect to our ancestors that came before us.

For the past 10 years, the park and ride transit centre has been under construction. The new facelift addressed numerous complaints with the lack of parking by creating around 800 park-and-ride parking stalls. The transit hub will also provide public washrooms, bike lock-ups, and a kiss-and-ride zone. The previously used centre will be relocated to its new downtown location and home of Fire Hall No. 1.

The City of St. Albert is hosting a grand opening for the bus terminal on August 27, 2020. nakî is anticipated to be opened to the public on August 30.

Laura Mushumanski is a local journalism initiative reporter for Alberta Native News.

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