The Regina planning commission voted eight to one in favour of renaming Dewdney Park in the North Central neighbourhood to Buffalo Meadows Park on Wednesday evening.
The new name will now go before Regina’s city council next week. City council unanimously approved the renaming of Dewdney Pool — in the park — last week.
Councillor Terina Shaw was the sole vote against the new name. CBC Saskatchewan has contacted Shaw for comment.
Past reports from city administration said Edgar Dewdney was a historical figure who was “directly responsible for the development and administration of harmful policies toward Indigenous peoples,” including establishing and overseeing residential schools.
In July 2020, the group Decolonizing Relations submitted a petition requesting the pool, park and Dewdney Avenue be renamed. The city is currently creating a legacy process to review the avenue name.
Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway told the commission on Wednesday that the renaming is an act of reconciliation, and of “claiming that identity and that connection.”
“Not necessarily only Indigenous people, but all over the world, people are talking about decolonization and reimagining their future,” she said.
BigEagle-Kequahtooway said the new name is a part of the legacy of the city which was originally known as ‘Pile of Bones’ due to piles of buffalo bones.
“When you look at the reverse image, that would mean that this was the land of the buffalo,” she said.
“So part of what’s happening today in present times is reimagining how our futures would look to reclaiming space for my fellow brothers and sisters and Indigenous extended family in the city of Regina so that we can begin to feel like we belong to this space.”
The new park name was approved by the North Central Community Association and Central Zone board. If city council approves the renaming, then the city would work with local groups and a local elder to hold a ceremony in spring 2021.