Metis group wants Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood renamed

The group is calling for the renaming of the Wolseley neighbourhood.

A Métis group is calling for the renaming of Winnipeg’s Wolseley neighbourhood.

According to Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, a member of the Red River Echoes collective, the group wants the area renamed, because its namesake, Garnet Joseph Wolseley was a general who “incited genocide against Métis peoples on this land.”

Lavallee-Heckert said the group’s request is as much about the process as the renaming itself.

“We want to come together as a community and hear from residents, hear from First Nations kin, First Nations relatives about how they feel about it as well, knowing that they were also victims of that violence,” she said.

Lavallee-Heckert added the renaming the neighbourhood would be taking one step toward reconciliation that could open up other collaborative conversations as well.

“There’s a lot of work to do to dismantle colonialism in our societies, and this is just one step, right?” she said.

“How we name places is meaningful and so if we can change that, hopefully we can make other changes.”

Lavallee-Heckert said we shouldn’t celebrate Manitoba’s 150th anniversary without recognizing the part of the history that came shortly after the province’s creation when “Métis peoples were dispossessed from this land.”

“For many of us that was when we were displaced from our lands originally. That was known as the reign of terror for us,” she said.

Lavallee-Heckert said as the country keeps finding bodies of children near sites of residential schools, Canadians need to accept what happened and stop calling it cultural genocide.

“We can no longer call it cultural genocide, it is genocide,” she said, noting that Indigenous people should not have to endure living in places named after those who committed atrocities against them.

The group plans to have a community town hall this summer to discuss the renaming, but no date has been set at this time.

- With files from CTV’s Jamie Dowsett.