Municipalities grapple with renaming Colonization Roads to further Indigenous reconciliation and awareness

Municipalities grapple with renaming Colonization Roads to further Indigenous reconciliation and awareness
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Nicole Miller, a member of Couchiching First Nation stands on Agamiing Drive, formerly Colonization Road East, in Fort Frances, Ont..Photography by David Jackson/The Globe and Mail

Until recently, the northwestern Ontario town of Fort Frances had two streets labelled Colonization Road. One is a picturesque street with big oak trees overlooking the glistening shores of Rainy River. It’s a spot held sacred by the local Anishinaabe of Couchiching First Nation, and now popular with tourists who come for the annual bass fishing tournament every July. The other Colonization Road, on the west side of town, is in a mostly residential neighbourhood of modest, middle-class homes.

But both roads were plain-as-day reminders of the town’s colonial past and displacement of Indigenous people by white settlers – the names said as much, right there on the street signs.

In January, after years of debate and consultations, the Fort Frances town council renamed both roads. Colonization Road East…

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