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Renaming the river that runs along the Valley floor

An incoming tide on the Cornwallis River near Miner's Marsh in Kentville.
An incoming tide on the Cornwallis River near Miner's Marsh in Kentville.

KENTVILLE, N.S. – It sometimes takes the eyes of a newcomer to see the inherent conflict in a name.

Isobel Hamilton, a Scottish immigrant, was moved by an infrastructure sign to start a debate about the name of the Cornwallis River.
The Centreville resident simply wants to recognize the province’s indigenous roots. Hamilton said she drove by the bridge sign a couple of times and started thinking about names.
Her first on-line petition was a drive to rectify what she saw as a mistake. Close to 600 people agreed with her that the Cornwallis name wasn’t right for the bridge.
“Surely not,” she said. “Every time I drove past I’d think about a proper sign. That’s what started it.”
Hearing that the chief of the Annapolis Valley First Nation requested the river’s name be changed back in 2011 and wanting to keep the debate going, Hamilton launched a second petition regarding the river’s name.
As a new Canadian trying to learn about local history, Hamilton, who moved here in 2013, says, the wrongs done indigenous people were fresh in her mind.
The town of Kentville has removed the name Cornwallis on the signage adjacent to the old bridge.
Hamilton’s second petition, signed by about 250 people, calls for the province to return the Cornwallis River to the original Mi’kmaq name of Jijuktu’kwejk.
Later this fall she hopes to bring her petitions to Kentville town council and be received positively.
In 2015, Premier Stephen McNeil had a sign for the Cornwallis River removed that was near the Annapolis Valley First Nation.


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