Brighton street name honours Michif language
The City's Naming Committee has selected what is thought to be the first Michif street name in Saskatoon. The name "Shakamohtaa" (shaa-KAM'-moh-TAHH') was assigned to a street in the southeast quadrant of Brighton. “Shakamohtaa” is the Michif word for “connect” and symbolizes the importance of coming together and building relationships.
The Métis in Saskatchewan speak three Michif languages. The most widely known Michif is a Cree-French mixed language composed of Plains Cree (nêhiyawêwin) with some Plains Ojibway (nakawēmowin) verbs/verb phrases and French (with some English) nouns/noun phrases. A world-renowned language, Michif is spoken in all three prairie provinces and into Montana and North Dakota. Michif-French—which is a French-based language blended with an Algonquian syntax—is spoken by the Métis in Batoche/St. Louis, Saskatchewan and in St. Laurent and St. Eustache, Manitoba. Northern Michif—a Cree-based language with a small amount of French word (noun) borrowings—is spoken in the northwest corner of Saskatchewan, with most speakers living in or near Ile-à-la Crosse, Buffalo Narrows, Beauval, and Green Lake. (SOURCE: Gabriel Dumont Institute)
“The Michif language is an integral language to this land,” says Mayor Clark. “While it is long overdue, I am glad we will see the Michif language reflected on this street in Brighton. Imagine the impact for kids growing up in this neighbourhood, living on or near Shakamohtaa Street. They will feel a greater connection to these roots and the beauty of the Michif language.”
Harriet St. Pierre, a Métis Elder who has spent most of her life living in Saskatoon, says: “I am happy that the City of Saskatoon is using our Métis language. It is our Michif language that gives us a community, culture, nation, and sense of belonging – all of which makes us Métis. This makes me very proud to have a street named in our language Michif; it will make a lot of Métis Elders and Nations very happy. It’s a good start to learning more about and understanding our Métis people and culture; I look forward to seeing more like this in the future.”
The Civic Naming Committee is comprised of three members of Council and non-voting administrators who provide support and information. The Committee’s mandate is to review all requests and suggestions for naming municipally-owned or controlled facilities, streets, developments, neighbourhoods and parks. The Naming Committee works with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee to ensure there is representation from all segments of our population.
Since street names are selected during the neighbourhood planning stage, the physical street does not yet exist anywhere other than on planning maps. It’s expected that the road will be in place along with its accompanying street sign in about two years’ time. Please see the below map to see where Shakamohtaa Street will be located.