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Edmonton’s 101A Avenue officially renamed Okisikow Way NW

Press Release

June 14, 2024

The City of Edmonton, in partnership with the community’s Okîsikow (Angel) Way initiative, officially declared June 14th Okîsikow (Angel) Way Day in Edmonton, a day to honour all people who have experienced domestic and gender-based violence and a day to encourage more support for women’s shelters.

“The City of Edmonton recognizes the collective strength, determination and resiliency of all women, girls and gender diverse people in our community,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “Okîsikow (Angel) Way signifies the importance of creating safer spaces and to honour all women, girls and gender diverse people who have experienced violence or continue to suffer, along with their families.”

The day also celebrated the City’s official renaming of 101A Avenue, between 96 and 97 Street, as “Okisikow Way NW”. The change, which takes Okîsikow (Angel) Way from an honorary name to an official street name and civic address, serves as a reminder to victims of violence that there are safe places in Edmonton to find shelter and support. The change was made official as of June 1, 2024, with the permanent naming of the street receiving unanimous approval by the City’s Naming Committee in March 2024.

“Okîsikow (Angel) Way reflects our commitment to acknowledging and supporting the victims of violence in our community,” said Erin McDonald, past chair of the Naming Committee. “The community petitioned for this transition from an honorary to an official name, demonstrating the deep-rooted importance of this initiative. By officially recognizing Okisikow Way NW, the Naming Committee reaffirms Edmonton’s dedication to providing safe spaces, shelter, and essential services to those in need. The process, led by the Indigenous community and driven by passionate organizations, signifies a meaningful step on our path of reconciliation.”

Edmonton is the latest Canadian capital city to follow the call from the City of Iqaluit and officially change a road name and civic address in support of the Angel Street Project. Originally started in 2007 by then Mayor of Iqaluit, Elisapee Sheutiapik, the Angel Street Project is a national movement to raise awareness and demonstrate support for women and children across Canada who experienced domestic and gender-based violence. Iqaluit’s City Council voted to name the street leading to the city’s Qimaavik Women’s Shelter “Angel Street”.

“Our dear friend Gloria Neapetung, along with many others answered the call from Iqaluit,” said April Eve Wiberg, Founder of Stolen Sisters & Brothers Action Movement. “It’s been a long journey, and we are so grateful to the City of Edmonton, the community, and local businesses who have shown support for the official naming of Okisikow Way.”

The City of Edmonton became one of the first major cities in Canada to show support for Iqaluit’s initiative by giving the honorary name “Okîsikow (Angel) Way” to downtown’s 101A Avenue. The name comes from the Cree word for “Angel” (Okîsikow; oh-kee-see-cow) to honour local Indigenous languages and to bring attention to the alarmingly high and disproportionate levels of violence against Indigenous people. It was unveiled at a ceremony on June 14, 2011, with a blessing by Mini Freeman, an Inuk Elder and author.

The Okîsikow (Angel) Way initiative is supported by the City of Edmonton and led by Elders, Stolen Sisters & Brothers Action Movement, CEASE – Centre to Empower All Survivors of Exploitation & Trafficking, Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre, MacKintosh Consulting, The Butterfly Project and Ayana Communications. This initiative aligns with Wahigicicobi, the City of Edmonton’s Indigenous Framework and the City’s Community Safety & Well-being Strategy.

For more information:

edmonton.ca/OkisikowWay

Media contact:
Francis Asuncion
Communications Advisor
Community Services
780-903-2647

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