Winnipeggers call for renaming of Wolseley neighbourhood

WINNIPEG — A group of Winnipeggers are calling for a name change of the Wolseley, pointing to its historical namesake’s violence against Indigenous peoples.

On Sunday, the Red River Echoes Collective hosted a ‘Renaming Rendezvous’ with the goal of creating a plan to move forward with the renaming of the Wolseley neighbourhood.

The group said the neighbourhood’s namesake Garnet Joseph Wolseley incited violence against Indigenous people when his troops arrived in the Red River Valley in 1870 and facilitated the theft of Indigenous land for Canadian occupation and westward expansion.

Cheyenne Ducharme was one of the Winnipeggers in attendance on Sunday. She said the event is letting people know what the name represents.

“(It’s bringing) awareness to the name Wolseley, and also (places) that are named after colonial people who don’t deserve their names to be brought to attention here in Winnipeg and throughout Canada.”

Ducharme said removing the names of these colonial figures from communities is a positive step towards truth and reconciliation for Indigenous people.

“Why should we be sitting here trying to give credit to these people who had done wrong to Indigenous people?”

Travis Kohut was also part of the discussion, he said the negative parts of our province’s history can’t be pushed aside.

“As settlers, we have a lot of our history that we have to look back on and ask ourselves if we’re ready to confront it.”

Chantale Garand, an organizer and member of the Red River Echoes Collective, said the request for change goes beyond the name of the neighbourhood.

“We’re focusing on the community of Wolseley, the street Wolseley, as well as the school Wolseley,” said Garand.

“We don’t believe that children should have to be educated in such a colonial space.”

Garand said all the input they gather at the Rendezvous will be presented to the city.

In the welcoming section of the City of Winnipeg’s website, residents can make open requests to change historical markers and place names as part of the city’s effort to resolve the absence of Indigenous perspectives.

Ducharme hopes the gathering brings awareness to the name, and more community members get onboard with the change.

“Once we come together as a community, we’re that much stronger.”

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