Innu-aimun audio for place names in Labrador
Hearing a name brings a place name to life, rather than only seeing a name on a screen or map. The Innu Nation in Labrador has shared over 400 audio files of their geographical names with the Geographical Names Board of Canada. The audio has been incorporated into the Canadian Geographical Names Database. Users of the database can hear the pronunciation of Innu place names, spoken by Innu-aimun language speakers.
These audio files are a result of decades long place names research by the Innu Nation. Starting in 1976, Innu elders, hunters and experts from Sheshatshiu and Davis Inlet walked across giant floor maps of Nitassinan (Quebec-Labrador peninsula) and pointed out Innu places and travel routes. Since then, nearly 1200 place names have been compiled and recorded, along with stories about the rivers, lakes, islands, mountains, campsites, gathering, burial and birth places, prime hunting and fishing locations, as well as other spots known for traditional activities. The Innu Nation and Elders generously shared their vast knowledge of the land and Innu culture, and close to 500 of these names have been made official by Newfoundland and Labrador.
Addition of audio files in the national geographical names database contributes to the preservation, revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous histories, languages and cultures. Users hear proper pronunciation, and non-language-speakers learn how to say these names.
To learn more about Innu place names, history and culture, and the work of the Innu Nation, please visit their site: Pepamuteiati nitassinat: As we walk across our land.
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