What’s in a reputation?
It’s a query on the minds of many proper now.
Throughout Canada, there have been situations in current weeks of organizations, faculty boards and metropolis halls taking steps to renames locations and buildings that honour folks with troubled histories.
“What’s really in a reputation? A reputation change, to me, that I discovered that has impacted me is therapeutic,” Oliver Group League president Robyn Paches mentioned Wednesday.
For the Oliver group, the dialog to alter the central Edmonton neighbourhood’s identify began in 2017, when anti-racism rallies had been held throughout North America in response to the occasions in Charlottesville.
In Edmonton, protestors puzzled why a neighbourhood within the metropolis was named after Frank Oliver.
Edmontonians push to rename Oliver neighbourhood
Oliver was a journalist and began Edmonton’s first paper, the Edmonton Bulletin.
“On the time, Frank Oliver was put up as the image of what the West was. He was a really perfect pioneer,” Paches mentioned. “He had a key hand in forming the nationwide parks system.
“The explanation that he’s so controversial is that each one got here with a really problematic worth.”
Oliver was an lively perpetrator in chasing the Papaschase and Michel Bands from their land. He used the Edmonton Bulletin to push unfavourable stereotypes, in keeping with the group league. He additionally used his place as an MP to place ahead anti-immigration insurance policies that added desire to folks of sure races.
The group league is now shifting ahead with a reputation change. Proper now, it’s making a committee that can work with town, they usually hope to rent a marketing consultant.
“(It’s) an thrilling day as a result of we’re basically undertaking our first of aim of getting that engagement began,” Paches mentioned.
“After we ultimately do our presentation to the naming committee for metropolis council, we need to make it possible for now we have clear knowledge that the identify change is warranted.”
Hunter Cardinal used to dwell within the Oliver neighbourhood and volunteers with #UncoverOliver. Cardinal mentioned the identify can maintain numerous ache — not only for him, however for others too.
“It was a reminder of numerous insurance policies that had been straight focused to Indigenous Peoples that resulted in not solely the shedding of our treaty rights, which had been extremely essential, however a severing to our land, our tradition and our alternative,” Cardinal mentioned.
“The disruptions that had been brought about of the pressured removing of Indigenous folks from our lands, we’re nonetheless seeing that at this time.
“I’m not invested in what the identify might be. I’m actually trying ahead to dialog and an entire number of voices to return collectively and wholeheartedly, holistically have interaction on this dialog, who’re we as a group.”
Up to now two weeks in Alberta, actions have been taken to alter the names of locations that honour folks integral to serving to residential colleges.
In Calgary, Langevin College’s identify was modified. This week in Edmonton, a mural at Grandin Station was lined and the identify has been briefly modified to Authorities Central as work begins to decide on a brand new one.
College of Manitoba historian Sean Carleton stresses that altering names doesn’t erase historical past.
“That doesn’t change historical past; it merely means how we commemorate and talk who we’re trying as much as from the previous and what does that appear like within the current? That’s what is altering,” Carleton mentioned.
“If accomplished proper, it’s about dialogue. It’s about working collectively. It’s about determining how our group areas can greatest mirror the sorts of values we wish everybody to look as much as.
“What’s the danger of not doing something? What are the dangers of constant to have fun architects of genocide in public? For many non-Indigenous folks, it doesn’t have any barring, however for some Indigenous folks, these are symbols of oppression and reminders of what occurred to them or group members or members of the family.”
There isn’t a timeline for when the Oliver neighbourhood may very well be renamed.