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Regina city councillors call to rename Dewdney Avenue 'as soon as possible'

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Two Regina city councillors have put forward a motion to rename Dewdney Avenue during Wednesday’s regular meeting at city hall.

Coun. Andrews Stevens and Coun. Dan LeBlanc are pushing for the renaming of the famous Regina street because they feel the person it is named after, Edgar Dewdney, has a legacy that his harmful to Indigenous Peoples.

In the notice of motion signed by the two councillors, Dewdney is described as, “a historical figure who was directly responsible for the development and administration of harmful policies towards Indigenous Peoples, including establishing and providing oversight for residential schools.”

In 2021, city council removed the name Dewdney from the now named Buffalo Meadows Park and Buffalo Meadows Pool.

Stevens and LeBlanc say naming a street after someone is an act of honouring them and because of that, would like to see the roadway renamed “as soon as possible.”

In past discussion surrounding changing the name of the famous street, the name Buffalo Avenue has appeared to have the most conversation surrounding it.

In the notice of motion, on page 170 and 171 of city council's agenda packet,  it states the city is working to establish framework that, “involves centering Indigenous perspectives, values, and priorities.”

The framework that was unanimously endorsed by council in October 2023, is aimed to be a commitment to reconciliation, the notice of motion says.

Both Stevens and LeBlanc say that continuing to honour Dewdney by having a street named after him contradicts that framework put forward.

Edgar Dewdney was born in 1835 in England and died in 1916. He held many political positions in Canada after arriving in the country in 1859.

In 1881, Dewdney was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the NWT, a position he held in conjunction with that of Indian commissioner. One of his first significant acts in this role was the selection of Regina (Wascana) as the new territorial capital in 1882, according to the University of Saskatchewan.

Dewdney’s use of withholding rations as a device to impose state authority on First Nations is often cited when discussing his controversial status among Canada’s Indigenous population.

The threat of hunger compelled Indigenous peoples to settle on reserves, adopt agriculture and send their children to mission schools.

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