A filmmaker and indigenous writer say plans by the province to rename 8 areas after a prominent member of Manitoba’s society is colonist and absolutely disrespectful.
Last Monday, minister Blaine Pedersen, who runs the ministry of Agriculture and Resource Development, said the government was making plans to rename a number of wildlife management areas for better management of inherent resources.
Kevin Settee, who spoke to local media, said that this is a tactic by the government to cut their ties with the land to erase their history and the measure his people have put in place to protect the water and land.
Through a statement, a spokesperson for the province said that the 8 persons chosen will offer a long-term commitment to the improvement of wildlife.
Areas that are earmarked for new names include Lake Francis, The Deerwood, Parkland, Saskatchewan, parts of Pierson and Whitemud, and Thallberg Bush.
Settee added that the authorities should have held talks with persons living close to Matheson Island, Pine Dock and Hollow Water before renaming the areas.
Geraldine Shingoose, an Ojibwe grandmother, said that the renaming list did not contain local names. She added that it felt like they were heading back to the 1860s.
She added that the government should have picked people who live in those areas instead of going with those who are influential.
The chosen Wildlife Management Areas are in close proximity to Treaty 1 and 2 territories. The spokesperson did not say if the locals were consulted before the government went ahead with the renaming plan.
The spokesperson for the province noted that the 8 areas are being renamed to memorialize people in Manitoba who made notable contributions the conservation process. The name the government announced this week is just the first of many to come.
Shingoose says she would like to see the list redone afresh to reflect the rich diversity of the areas and the province as a whole.
The Nahanni Fontaine, NDP MLA, said this is a reflection of the persons that the government thinks of as prominent.