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Bridge560Submitted by Dan Russell, G.C. Huston Public School

This past summer, G.C. Huston received support from the Town of Saugeen Shores to name the bridge that spans the Saugeen River. Our original intent was to name the bridge Mino Bimaadzwin which we thought meant ‘the Good Path’ but in fact means ‘a Good Life’.

See: Bimaadzwin Bridge is a win

While this word connects well with our Grandfather Teachings (living ‘a good life’ involves following the Grandfather Teachings), we were not sure that it was the right choice as a name for our bridge. We were looking for a word that had special meaning both literally and symbolically; a word that speaks to the idea of ‘coming together as one family’ and that connects to the notion of reconciliation. After consulting with the Elders and Language Keepers from Saugeen First Nation, we came up with four choices. They were:

Mino Bimaadzwin (A Good Life)
Mino Tecum-she (A Good Walk Across)
Ahzho-gunm-naan (Our Bridge)
Zgaa-biig-ni-gan (We Are Connected)

On February 12 a delegation of Elders visited the school to discuss the four choices with students in grades 3 to 8. They described the meaning of each word and emphasized the importance of the decision that was about to be made. As one Elder put it, “Together, we are making history.”

Following the visit from the Elders, our Hawks were given the opportunity to vote on which name we should use. The students have spoken and we are proud to announce the name of our bridge.

Zgaa-biig-ni-gan (zgaa-beeg-ni-gun) which means ‘we are connected’ or more precisely ‘from one side to the other, we are connected.’

We hope that our community and visitors will appreciate the symbolic meaning of this name. A bridge unites a community previously divided in a physical way. Similarly, our gestures of peace, understanding and love toward one another bridge our differences and unite us in a very special way – as one family.

Our next steps for this project include ordering the road signs and arranging for installation, determining the message that will go on the heritage plaque, and deciding on a date for a gathering on the bridge. We will let the community know this date once it is determined and we hope to see everyone come together on our bridge to celebrate.

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