Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

The city of Ottawa says there are no plans to rename Amherst Crescent in Barrhaven because no one officially requested it, and says there is no evidence that it was named after an 18th-century British general. who spoke in favor of the genocide of indigenous peoples.

“Amherst Crescent has had its name for over 40 years, and the city has reviewed and determined that it has no records indicating that the crescent was named or named after a particular person,” wrote Dan Chenier, the city’s general manager for recreation. , culture and facility services, in an email to CBC.

Several jurisdictions across Canada and the United States have already discussed renaming its streets, buildings or even cities, acknowledging that it commemorates British General Jeffrey Amherst — who said that smallpox-infected blankets should be used to kill indigenous people.

In 2019, in the spirit of reconciliation, Montreal renamed Amherst Street to Atateken Street, indicating the idea of ​​equality between people in Kanien’kéha in the Mohawk language.

After Montreal’s change, a native activist in 2019 said she hopes Ottawa would follow suit with its own Amherst Crescent – a residential street at the west end of Barrhaven.

“What’s in a name? In the name is a reminder that there was a genocide here,” Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail said at the time. “Keeping up with those people in charge is unacceptable.”

Two years later, the city says the process of changing the name of the crescent has not even started.

Why do politicians have to wait for people to tell them what to do?– Claudette Commanda, Elder Algonquin

It explained that no one has submitted an application, nor did a councilor make a proposal to change the street name.

“Although the memorial program for naming does not call for nominations, residents are welcome to submit an application to name a street, park or facility,” Chenier said.

“Why should politicians wait for people to tell them that? Because if politicians are true to change, not to deny history or change history, but to do it right … why should politicians wait for people to tell? them what to do? ”said Claudette Commanda, an elder with Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation.

She said the responsibility is also on the residents.

“I think it’s also important for residents to come forward to say … ‘we’re learning more and more about this dark story … we need to correct the wrong one here.'”

CBC contacted Barrhaven’s councilor, Jan Harder, but did not receive an answer yet.

SE | Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda at Amherst Crescent:

The city should not have to wait for complaints from residents before renaming Amherst Street, seniors say

Algonquin elder Claudette Commanda says politicians should not have to wait for official requests from residents before renaming a Barrhaven street, as some say is named after a British general who spoke in favor of genocide against indigenous peoples. 0:59

Revamping naming policy delayed

Chenier said changes to existing street names are currently “being made primarily for the sake of public safety / road finding.”

For other reasons for the name change, he said the request could be considered under its naming policy.

This naming policy was redeveloped as part of the city’s Reconciliation Action Plan, approved in February 2018, which follows the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.

Following Montreal’s decision to rename Amherst Street, a native activist in 2019 said she hopes Ottawa would follow suit. Two years later, nothing has changed in the country’s capital. (Kristy Nease / CBC)

The renewed policy, which the city said would open doors for current remembrance names to be revised against the TRC’s recommendations, was supposed to be submitted to the council in September as a final draft, but the city says it has been delayed until at least July 2022 .

“The original timeline was extended to allow for more community consultation with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the city,” said city resident Nicole Zuger.

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