Web poll results: EFN readers support changing Regina street names
- EFN Staff | February 14, 2017
Eagle Feather News' readers support the idea of renaming streets for cultural history reasons.
Last week, readers answered yes or no to the question Do you agree with the idea of renaming streets for cultural history reasons in our web reader poll with 61.90% answering yes and a 38.10% no response.
Back in May 2006, then Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco announced the city was considering on naming streets and subdivisions after Indigenous leaders. In July 2016, the Civic Naming Committee approved Indigenous names for use as streets and parks. According to a Civic Naming Committee online document, there are 46 names on that list and 20 of those names are currently in use.
End of January local media coverage revealed the City of Regina may consider renaming Tower Road to the late elder Glen Anaquod. He was a residential school survivor and was known for his share of stories and teachings within the community.
“We were very excited!” says daughter Gaylene Anaquod. “When we find out the sign goes up, our family will be going out [to the sign location] to celebrate.”
The City of Regina chose to honour elder Anaquod from Muscowpetung First Nation for sharing his personal story about his residential school experience. Anaquod says her and her family were happy when they first found out a street may be renamed in recognition of her father for his sharing his stories on a 2012 documentary We Were Children a film about the experiences of two residential school students.
“Hearing the story of your parent going through, it was heart-wrenching and you’re kind of in shock and at the same time, you’re so hurt,” she adds.
In another street renaming case, a Regina woman is calling on the City of Regina to rename Dewdney Avenue to Buffalo Avenue to recognize the Indigenous cultural history of the city.
“When we’re talking about the nickname for the city of Regina is Pile of Bones [which means] pile of buffalo bones. It’s not really a nickname, it’s the truth,” says BigEagle-Kequahtooway. “The city of Regina doesn’t seem to know what that meant to us is the end of our way of living.”
According to the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, when Dewdney became the Indian commissioner in 1879, he started “with the immediate task of averting mass starvation and unrest among the First Nations following the sudden disappearance of the buffalo.” BigEagle-Kequahtooway says this historical aspect is important for people in the city of Regina to understand her reasoning behind her initiative in renaming the street.
“It’s not about hiding the history, it’s about bringing it forward and talking about it,” she says. “Dewdney is portrayed as a hero when he really wasn’t.”
The City of Regina will be following up with Anaquod about the final decision of the street naming and BigEagle-Kequahtooway along with other members of the community are planning on hosting a meeting next month to discuss on going forward with the idea.