HRM considering changing names of communities, streets that include word Indian

·1 min read
A sign for Indian Harbour, N.S., is shown. (Google Maps - image credit)
A sign for Indian Harbour, N.S., is shown. (Google Maps - image credit)

Halifax regional council unanimously voted Tuesday for a staff report to look into the idea of changing communities and street names that include the word Indian.

"Most people don't know where the term Indian came from," said Coun. Pam Lovelace. "They don't realize that with many members of the Mi'kmaw community that it is an outdated and disrespectful term."

Lovelace asked for a report on a process for changing names that would include consultation with homeowners, businesses and Mi'kmaw communities.

A council agenda item said Indian is a legal definition tied to the Indian Act.

"The Indian Act is a contentious issue with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit across Canada due to its oppressive control over their lives, disenfranchisement, confiscation of self-governance, Indian Residential Schools, seizure of land, and more," said the agenda.

Coun. Becky Kent warned the process could create controversial conversations with the affected communities.

"The reality is that we still have a population who are digging in their heels around change," she said. "I just think this is an important piece, we should do it right."

Kent talked about the renaming of a school in her community from Tallahassee to Horizon. She said it sparked a big debate, but once people got the background, some of them changed their minds.

Coun. Patty Cuttell thinks if the names are changed, it will be important to understand where they came from in the first place.

"I would hate to remove that connection between our First Nation communities and the land," said Cuttell. "We need to work with everyone to find more appropriate names."

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