LETHBRIDGE, AB – There’s no time like the present to finally rename two areas in Lethbridge and change offensive signs, according to one outspoken resident.
Rosie Digout says the discovery of 215 children’s remains at a residential school site in Kamloops, BC has triggered widespread trauma among Indigenous people. She’s meeting with Lethbridge’s Indigenous Relations Advisor, Perry Stein, on Monday (June 7) to discuss some issues that are more relevant than ever right now.
In a Facebook post, Digout says Indian Battle Park and the Indian Battle Heights neighborhood have been on the Reconciliation Lethbridge agenda for the last three years, and have also been talked about by City Council since at least 2005.
She’s now calling on the City of Lethbridge to re-name those areas with proper Blackfoot names, and replace signs that feature a man on a horse wearing a headdress.
“Indian is a word that was given to First Nations by settlers,” Digout tells our radio station. “But, there are more than 600 First Nation communities that represent more than 50 nations and 50 Indigenous languages. Each community has its own identity. It’s no longer [correct] to use the word Indian.”
Digout adds that a member of City Council will be presenting a motion at the June 15 regular meeting. It would propose a way to explore all challenges and opportunities identified by the Indigenous community in a more holistic way to increase community understanding.
That agenda should be posted on the City of Lethbridge website within the next few days, and Digout encourages all residents to share their feedback on the motion with Council.