History ignored

Elizabeth Ann Byron has made a touching defense of a school name (Kelly Road) with a past that reaches back into the mists of antiquity—or at least several decades. 

Her emotional response to proposed changes to something that she and, obviously, many other current students and alumnae of the school, value so much should actually wake her and the others to the extraordinary pain that Indigenous people all over what we now call Canada suffered as the names for their lands (as well as the lands themselves) were stolen away. I guarantee her that when that happened back then, it did not entail opportunities for public discussion of any kind! 

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Indeed, John Kelly, for whom the road and, thereby, the school was first named was a prime developer and beneficiary of the Crown's theft of all the territory around here. Kelly, like so many other early European settlers and explorers, is very well represented today. 

A book about street names in Prince George by the Canadian Federation of University Women traced and explained name origins. On release by a group that is not exactly made up of flaming radicals, its spokesperson took note of the underrepresentation of aboriginal names (see Frank Peebles article in the Citizen Jan 11, 2017). 

Looking further afield in B.C., we still see streets in our capital city named for the likes of Amor de Cosmos who campaigned avidly for exterminating Native people and our highest mountain still bears the name of Alfred Waddington whose scheme for a road through the Coastal Mountains brought about the Chilcotin (Tsilhqot'in) War  and, thence, the murder of several Tsilhqot'in chiefs—as approved by another chap whose name still graces the B.C. rural and urban landscape, Judge Begbie.

So nobody would have a better understanding than First Nations of the pain that can come from having dear places summarily renamed. 

Ms. Byron, and all those who she's ready to stand "arm-in-arm" with, should be taking this situation as a reconciliation teaching moment about what others have suffered to a far greater extent than she and her comrades will ever know.

Norman Dale 

Prince George

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