The Ala’suinu: Celebrating Centuries of Travellers

The names of our vessels are a representation of our organization. They honour our history and our communities, and they all hold an important part of Marine Atlantic’s legacy. Our newest vessel, the Ala’suinu (pronounced Ah-laa-sue-in-ou) is no different. Ala’suinu is the Mi’kmaw word for “traveller”. The name celebrates and recognizes the Indigenous culture and heritage of our region in a respectful and meaningful manner and is a symbolic gesture of our commitment towards truth and reconciliation.

For years, Mi’kmaq have travelled between the Province of Nova Scotia and the Island of Newfoundland to visit kin and strengthen the relationships of the Mi’kmaq nation, as well as to harvest natural foods. Today, many of our passengers are travelling for the same reasons, on the same route. The Ala’suinu celebrates those who have made this journey throughout history, and those who will in the future.

While the name of the vessel honours the heritage of Mi’kmaq communities in our provinces, it will also introduce passengers to an Indigenous language. For centuries, the historical and ongoing mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples across Canada (Turtle Island) has resulted in Indigenous Peoples being removed from their cultures and languages. Our languages hold our stories, songs, and family histories, and without them, many of us would lose the connections we have to our ancestry. Because of the Ala’suinu, a Mi’kmaq word will be spoken and celebrated every day by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) calls to action include five recommendations around language and culture, citing that “Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them”. We’re proud to have taken this to task with the naming of this new vessel.

The Ala’suinu is a physical representation of our journey towards truth and reconciliation. At Marine Atlantic, we’re committed to continuous education and action that promotes truth, remembrance, and recognition of Indigenous Peoples across Canada (Turtle Island). As we work and live on Indigenous lands, we feel that it is important for us to not only understand the history of Indigenous Peoples, but to work to build and support an unbiased environment where Indigenous Peoples, communities, and cultures can grow and thrive. Through the Ala’suinu, we’re providing a space where Indigenous art, languages, and cultures can live and exist in its traditional lands, where thousands of travellers can avail of these learning opportunities.   

Marine Atlantic would like to respectfully acknowledge that we operate in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq Peoples, and on the island of Ktaqmkuk, the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi'kmaq Peoples. We also acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Innu of Nitassianan, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of NunatuKavut.

Learn more about the Ala’suinu today

The Ala'suinu