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Port Hawkesbury officials send letter of support to add 'Unama'ki' to 'Welcome to Cape Breton' sign

Town officials in Port Hawkesbury are pushing to honour the Mi'kmaq community by adding 'Unama'ki' to the 'Welcome to Cape Breton' sign at the Canso Causeway.

Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, town mayor, says officials sent off a letter supporting the idea to Stephen McNeil, Premier and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Tuesday.

She says it wouldn't just be a celebration of our First Nations communities; it would also recognize their language.

Chisholm-Beaton tells The Hawk the change would mean a lot for the area.

"We are on unseeded ancestral land of the Mi'kmaq people," she says. "It really would go a long way with regard to truth and reconciliation- not only for the island of Cape Breton, but also for our Strait area municipalities as well; it would be a nice token of acknowledgement."

Chisholm-Beaton says the idea was discussed by an elder from
We'koqma'q, at the One Cape Breton: Future Forward Leaders' Summit, hosted in the Town of Port Hawkesbury, in November.

She says they anticipate support from all municipalities and First Nations communities around, and near the island.

Chisholm-Beaton says the addition would make a big impact.

"It was Unama'ki before it was Cape Breton- I think it certainly would show a tremendous level of respect to our First Nations communities in Unama'ki, in Cape Breton," she said. "They readily use the word today."

Chisholm-Beaton says officials in Guysborough Co. have also sent a letter of support to McNeil.

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