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Bitimagamasing: Ramsey's Anishinaabemowin name to be featured on billboard

Project being undertaken by Katimavik volunteers
Participants with the Katimavik program put together a sign overlooking Ramsey Lake that shares the Anishinaabemowin name for the body of water, "Bitimagamasing," which means “water that lies beside the hill.” (Supplied)

Katimavik volunteers, in collaboration with community organizer Bruce McComber, have launched Project Bitimagamasing, a billboard overlooking Ramsey Lake reflecting its traditional Anishinaabemowin name. 

“Bitimagamasing” translates to “water that lies beside the hill.” This project aims to engage the community in dialogue about reconciliation, said a press release.

McComber was inspired by similar initiatives across the country to honour traditional place-names. He emphasizes the importance of promoting Anishinaabemowin through this project.

“Many indigenous languages in Canada are extinct, and many more are expected to become extinct in the next few generations,” he said in the press release.

McComber said he is proud to be partnering with Katimavik to make Project Bitimagamasing a reality.

“Katimavik is an organization that has a great reputation for embracing and supporting social change,” he said.

Katimavik volunteers – diverse youth from across Canada – have been engaging in truth and reconciliation initiatives for the past six months, and are tasked with completing a “legacy project” to ensure a lasting positive impact. 

“As an indigenous woman and a guest on Anishinaabe territory, I feel very grateful to be a part of this project that will foster positive relationships and conversations about reconciliation,” said Katelynne Herchak, a volunteer from Victoria, BC.

The sign will be unveiled at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8 Dale St. This event will be followed by a reception in the Ramsey Room at Science North at 5 p.m. These events are open to the public.

Founded in 1977, Katimavik is a national non-profit organization that works to develop diverse youth as engaged, caring citizens and capable contributors and leaders for a better Canada.

Over the past 40 years, more than 35,000 youth have participated in Katimavik programs and have made a lasting impact in over 1,000 communities.