Regina, Saskatchewan doesn’t have enough place names honouring First Nations people and culture. Wascana Parkway and Assiniboine Drive just don’t cut it. Where’s Sitting Bull Circle, or Sha-có-pay Street?
“Regina has had this really long-standing colonial messaging in terms of our street names and place names — just looking at Dewdney and Victoria,” said Shauneen Pete, executive lead of indigenization at the University of Regina. “The list goes on and on and on so it really maintains the unquestionable place of colonial narrative.”
She explained that Edgar Dewdney was superintendent general of Indian affairs until 1892 and played a significant role in creating a system of oppression designed to eradicate First Nations people by establishing reserves, the pass system, residential schools and ration distribution.
“That story, when understood, takes on a very different meaning and we can begin to question, ‘Why do we honour this person?’ ” said Pete.
University of Regina has already renamed several buildings to honour Indigenous cultures. It makes sense to, given that we are surrounded by Wascana Parkway on the west and south, and Wascana Lake on the north and east. Wascana is a reference to an Indigenous word meaning “pile of bones” (as anyone from Regina could probably tell you).