EDMONTON -- The City of Edmonton’s municipal wards may soon have new names based on Indigenous places.

While deliberating on Edmonton’s new ward map Tuesday, city council passed a motion asking the naming committee to work with the Indigenous community to come up with 12 Indigenous names for the city’s wards.

Terri Suntjens is the director of Indigenous Initiatives with MacEwan University. She was among the list of speakers advocating for the Indigenous ward names at Tuesday’s council meeting.    

“I’ve been in the City of Edmonton for about three years now,” Suntjens told CTV News Edmonton. “I previously worked within First Nations communities and one of the things that I had hesitations about moving to Edmonton, was having a connection to our Indigenous culture and language.”

“Especially having two young girls who are six and 10, and how they would see themselves reflected here,” she said. “I know that when I was young I came to University here in the city and I didn't necessarily see myself reflected in the city.”

Edmonton City Councillor Aaron Paquette declined an interview with CTV News Edmonton, saying he wants the focus to be on the community, but has expressed his pleasure about the idea on Twitter.

The committee has been given a budget of $150,000 from the council contingency fund to complete its work.

City administration will come back to council with the committee’s recommendations for naming the wards before the end of September.

“It’s really important that I start with our team and with others in creating these narratives across the city,” said Suntjens. “That we can see ourselves as Indigenous people reflected here in a positive light.”

The new municipal wards boundaries passed first reading Tuesday, putting the process into the 60-day advertising phase.

The municipal wards map will need to be determined before the October 2021 election.