June 20th, 2024

City seeking survey feedback on place name strategy


By Trevor Busch - Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtbusch@lethbridgeherald.com

Receiving citizen input on updating many of the City’s place names to more effectively reflect the Blackfoot and other Indigenous peoples in the region is the goal of a new survey being launched by the City of Lethbridge.
The City’s Indigenous Placemaking Strategy was approved by city council in May 2021.
“The purpose of that project was really to identify opportunities to invest in the community in representing Blackfoot and other Indigenous people’s culture through art, language, heritage interpretation and many, many different things,” said Perry Stein, Indigenous relations advisor, speaking to media virtually on Tuesday. “In the summer, after the announcements were coming out from residential schools across Canada, discoveries of mass graves, city council asked that we expand the scope of that work to also audit the existing place names in the community that city council has jurisdiction over, so that includes things like roads and parks and facilities, pieces of public art and other things in the community.”
The City of Lethbridge has been working directly with representatives from Indigenous communities, including elders and youth, and members of the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee and Historic Places Advisory Committees to develop a series of guiding principles about how Indigenous peoples should be represented in public spaces, and to explore opportunities to rename or showcase Indigenous culture in existing public spaces.
“We have hired, working directly with the Blackfoot Confederacy nations through elders and consultants and youth, to understand their perspectives on existing place names throughout the community, and are also working to do broader public engagement to understand the perspectives of residents and visitors to Lethbridge on how they understand the impact and level of inclusion of existing name places throughout the city,” continued Stein. “That’s where we’re at right now. We’ve been doing engagement with our Indigenous partners since October. And we have launched a public survey together on more broad-based resident feedback on opportunities to explore renaming or new opportunities to invest in what we’re calling Indigenous place-making, but also just broader feedback on how the city should be showcasing Blackfoot and other Indigenous people’s culture in public spaces.”
Residents are invited to give their feedback by completing the survey via the Get Involved Lethbridge website. The survey is open until February 28 and the findings will be combined with the feedback that has been sought directly from Indigenous community members.
“That information gets compiled alongside the feedback directly from Indigenous partners, and we’ll be putting together a list of recommendations for city council that we hope to present in April or May,” said Stein. “Ultimately the decision to rename something rests with city council so our goal is to provide them good feedback from the community with some good analysis on those recommendations that we put forward.”
The City of Lethbridge is hardly unique in Canada in dealing with these kinds of questions and concerns, Stein confirmed.
“Cities across Canada, and cities around the world, have been grappling with these sets of conversations around representation for many, many years, so this isn’t a unique conversation to Lethbridge. We know other cities across Canada are having these same conversations, whether with respect to existing road names or statues or monuments that are in public spaces. So this is part of the work of reconciliation, taking a closer, more critical look at the histories of the places that we live and trying to be ensure that we’re being inclusive and respectful and representative of the true legacy of reconciliation.”

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old school

Stop the nonsense,keep names as they are!

snowman

we the citizens, taxpayers, landowners our names are on the land title, corporate owners of this city. as such we have not ceded our land to the Blackfoot. We do not have any trespassing signs or require a pass identification to travel. We do not need a reconciliation that does not apply to our property We can walk with them but cannot ride in the same canoe (their interpretation., can we go and tell them what must be on their land Our road names, statues will stay as we name them. for the citizens that help build them. no reconciliation is required.