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New library branch in Strathcona will have an aboriginal name

DH Vancouver Staff Sep 26, 2014 2:28 pm

Strathcona is getting a new library branch, but Vancouverites might need some practice saying its name.

The Vancouver Public Library announced Friday their newest location will be the nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch, which they say “encompasses the idea of ‘we are one’ in the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (Musqueam) language.”

For many locals, the words may not roll so easily off their tongues. To help us all out, the VPL has an audio clip, and offers the following pronunciation tips:

– The first syllable nə́c̓ is pronounced in a way that is very similar to the English word nuts

– The unstressed ʔa is identical to the “u” in but

– The “a” in the last syllable is the same as the “a” in father

– “mat” also rhymes with the name Mott as in Mott’s Clamato juice

– The two letters at the end sound like “tst”

The nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona branch will be the first major civic building in Vancouver to have an official aboriginal name, says the VPL. The name was prompted by the community’s suggestion of ‘Namwayut, which was the theme of the City of Vancouver’s Year of Reconciliation activities, however the VPL turned to the Coast Salish people and language to seek out a name with a similar connotation.

“The name chosen for this new branch of the Vancouver Public Library reflects the vibrant neighbourhood it will serve, and builds on Vancouver’s ongoing work with local First Nations to become a City of Reconciliation,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The same name was used as a theme for this summer’s Richmond Earth Day Youth (REaDY) Summit and is also “the name of [the Musqueam’s] comprehensive community plan and the vision that guides it.”

This new VPL branch, located at at 730 East Hastings Street, is a joint project with the YWCA Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver. It will not only be a library branch, but will also offer affordable housing for single mothers and their children.

Construction is expect to start in a few months, and the branch is slated for an early 2016 debut. In the meantime, Strathcona residents may want to practice saying “nə́c̓aʔmat ct.”

Rendering of the branch courtesy VPL

DH Vancouver Staff
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