Cape Negro in Shelburne County officially renamed Eel Bay
The Nova Scotia government has renamed Cape Negro in Shelburne County to Eel Bay, though a representative from the area says people who actually live in the community did not come up with the name.
"The name was derogatory, so there's no conflict there," Jody Crook, deputy warden of the Municipality of Barrington, told CBC in an interview on Thursday "... the [renaming] process was a little bit flawed."
The new name was chosen after community meetings and five years after a Mahone Bay, N.S., man asked the province to change the name.
Crook said the renaming process was disorganized and there was difficulty finding a balance between keeping residents happy and "the province and interest groups happy."
In a letter to the warden from February of this year, a representative with the province said consultations with residents began in the summer of 2021 to change four local names that cause harm to the African Nova Scotian community.
"A series of community meetings occurred between August and October, resulting in a short list of possible replacement names for the community. On Nov. 8, residents selected from the short list of names, and the result was a majority vote in favour of Eel Bay," the letter stated.
Crook said names residents wanted were not included on the short list.
"There was interest groups brought from outside to select and choose some of the names and the community group itself did not have the ability to choose the name that they deemed the proper name for the community. So that left, unfortunately, a bad taste in their mouth," Crook said.
The letter noted "concerns expressed" with the renaming consultation process. The province said it "is doing a complete review to redefine the process for place names that cause harm to reflect democratic and inclusive principles while respecting community decision making."
The province is also looking to meet with community residents to get input and feedback.
There are three other communities in Shelburne County that will be renamed: Cape Negro Island, Negro Harbour and Squaw Island.
The province will start the renaming process for those areas once the lobster season has ended "to ensure affected community residents have an opportunity to participate."
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
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