Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway stands next to a teepee at Dewdney Park during a barbecue to push for the park’s name to be changed to Buffalo Meadows. Changing the names of Regina’s parks and streets has long been a mission for Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway. Of thousands of roads in the city, only about forty are named for Indigenous people, words or themes.
But on Wednesday, she spurned a meeting set to weigh new guidelines that could seriously crank that number up — using a controversial quota system first proposed this spring .
She felt the proposal doesn’t go far enough.
“It doesn’t reflect what we want in terms of changing an existing name,” she said.
Instead, BigEagle-Kequahtooway and a few dozen supporters were at Dewdney Pool and Park, pushing to rename it “Buffalo Meadows.”
“They should just make a motion to change it tonight,” said Bigeagle-Kequahtooway, who has also argued for the renaming of Dewdney Avenue. “That’s within their power, to change this park and this avenue.”
But the Regina Planning Commission had no plans to do that. In its Wednesday meeting, it even kicked the quota issue up to council — after Coun. Bob Hawkins successfully argued it was too important for the commissioners to decide on their own.
“The proper body to have final decision making authority on a recommendation of this scope should be city council,” he said.
“This is a big deal.”
The quotas came as part of a package of proposed guidelines for Regina’s Civic Naming Committee, along with measures to forbid soundalike names and repetitive prefixes like Wascana, Maple or Green. According to administration, both of those “confusing” naming trends have frustrated emergency services in Regina.
If the guidelines pass at council, at least 50 per cent of new parks and 25 per cent of new local roads would take the names of Indigenous people or themes, or words in a Treaty Four language like Cree or Saulteaux.
Indigenous naming would also be required for all new arterial and collector roads — essentially thoroughfares that handle heavier loads of traffic.
But Hawkins tried to turn the commission against any numerical requirements. He moved an amendment to replace the quotas with a direction to use a “significant number” of Indigenous names.
“I think quota systems are rigid,” said Hawkins. “I think they inevitably lead to controversy in their application.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment. I don’t agree with the method.”
Other commissioners joined City Clerk Jim Nichol in countering that the word “significant” would be more difficult to measure. But they didn’t decide the issue that evening. Ultimately, the amendment was put on hold, along with the guidelines.The commission will address the matter again at its November meeting, before sending recommendations along to council for final approval.The debate comes at a time when Regina is grappling with the fraught legacy of historical figures like Edgar Dewdney, Nicholas Flood Davin and Sir John A. Macdonald, largely over their role in residential schools and colonialist policies. The organizers of the Dewdney Pool and Park event said those men are unfitting of honour.“Would you like a park named Adolf Hitler park?” asked Sue Deranger, who joined Bigeagle-Kequahtooway in organizing the event.“Dewdney represents that same genocide to Indigenous people as Adolf Hitler did to Jews and gypsies.” People gather at Dewdney Park for a barbecueÂ to push for the park’s name to be changed to Buffalo Meadows. BigEagle-Kequahtooway said the park’s name is difficult for many to accept, especially in the North Central area that’s home to both a Dewdney Park and a Dewdney Avenue.“There is a high concentration of Indigenous people in this neighbourhood, so why shouldn’t we have a name that reflects who […]
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