Learn Ktunaxa place names for Cranbrook, Fernie, Kimberley and the Kootenays


When you visit the Kootenays, what names do you use to refer to the area? Many of us know Cranbrook, Kimberley and Fernie, names European settlers gave to these areas. But do you know the original place names for the homelands of the Ktunaxa, the First Nations who have called the southern central Kootenays region home for over 10,000 years? 

The names we give to geographical places signifies important connections. Learning the Indigenous place names is one way to connect to the oldest, longest standing culture in the area. 

Ktunaxa Place Names

To help you connect to #KtunaxaHomelands, here are some Ktunaxa place names - as shared by the Ktunaxa Nation - to help you begin to appreciate this region from a Ktunaxa perspective. 

Watch the videos to hear each place name pronounced in the Ktunaxa language by Ktunaxa people, and see some of the beauty of the region.

Ktunaxa (also known as the BC Kootenays)

Watch #KtunaxaHomelands Placename Ktunaxa on YouTube.

ʔa·kisk̓aqǂiʔit (also known as Cranbrook BC)

Watch #KtunaxaHomelands Placename Cranbrook on YouTube.

Ȼaqahak (also known as Fernie BC)

Watch #KtunaxaHomelands Placename Fernie on YouTube.

Kukamaʔnam (also known as Kimberley BC) 

Watch #KtunaxaHomelands Placename Kimberley on YouTube.

ʔaq̓am (also known as St. Eugene)

Watch #KtunaxaHomelands Placename St. Eugene on YouTube.

As you travel and learn, remember that there is a complex history of Indigenous placemaking from pre-contact through the treaty era to modern times. The Ktunaxa Nation is one of the largest in Western Canada representing six different bands, and as such dialect, naming and regional definitions may vary. 

Both language and geographical maps have limitations. ZenSeekers encourages you to continue on your journey of reconciliation, education and connection by making a visit to #KtunaxaHomelands - read on!

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