News release

New Sign at Canso Causeway Welcomes Motorists to Unama’kik

In recognition of Mi’kmaq people, language and the significant geographical location, motorists travelling across the Canso causeway will be welcomed by a new sign in Mi’kmaq, Pjila’si Unama’kik.

“Increasing knowledge and awareness about Mi’kmaq language and culture is important to understanding our shared history," said Premier Iain Rankin, who is also Minister of L’nu Affairs. “This new sign is one way to recognize Mi’kmaq connection to the land and home of many Mi’kmaq communities on the island.”

At a ceremony earlier today, July 9, Premier Rankin, along with Mi’kmaq elders and chiefs, Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, mayor of Port Hawkesbury, and guests unveiled the prototype sign. The actual sign will be installed on the far east entrance to the island next week.

There are other areas of the province with Mi’kmaq signs to help celebrate and teach people about the history, language, and geographical area.


The installation of this sign on the causeway shows how we are working together towards reconciliation. The Mi’kmaw language is vital to our existence. It is the foundation to understanding who we are. Using the original place names gives all Nova Scotians and visitors a better understanding of the landscape here in Mi’kma’ki. Unama’ki is the land of the fog. Chief Leroy Denny, chairperson, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

I am a survivor of the Shubenacadie Indian residential school. As a child of three years old, I was forbidden to speak my Mi’kmaw language. I lost my language and fought hard to relearn it and make sure my children spoke it. Today, to see people welcomed to Unama’ki, in my language, when they cross the causeway is a dream come true. Ketu’ mui’walkik nike’, pitui kukumijinaqi’k, pitui kniskamijinaqi’k, aq msit kikmanaqi’k nikanitapmi’k wa’so’q.Ula eymulti’kw Unama’kik kiskuk, ml’kikleiwanej nekmowok ukamlamuninaq. Our ancestors hear us. Ma’git Poulette, Mi’kmaw Elder, We’koqma’q

Quick Facts:

  • Mi’kmaq is a verb-based language that does not translate directly into English
  • Unama’kik is the word Mi’kmaq use to refer to Cape Breton Island, and loosely translates to Land of Fog
  • Pjila’si loosely means Welcome: Come in and sit down

Additional Resources:

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