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Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park to be new name of Prince George park

06/17/2015 11:35 EDT | Updated 06/17/2016 05:59 EDT
Councillors in Prince George, B.C., have voted in favour of renaming a civic park to commemorate a dark past with a local First Nation.

In a 8-1 vote, council decided on Monday night to change the name of Fort George Park to Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park. The name aims to acknowledge the history of the park, where, in 1913, the Lheidli T'enneh village was burned to make way for a railway and the city.  

"We are not rewriting or erasing history," said councillor Terri McConnachie. "Actually we are now, for the first time, acknowledging it."

Though not all residents are happy about the name change, councillor Brian Skakun assured that, "The grass is still going to be green, the trees are still going to grow, the water's still going to run in the fountain. Absolutely nothing's going to change the physical aspects of the park."

Derek Frigon, a local truck driver who attended Monday's council meeting, commended the city for doing the right thing.

"I think it's only the right thing to do to try and right some of the wrongs that we done in the past, and I think renaming a little piece of land that we party in that used to be their village, their land, their cemetery, their place to live — I just think it's the right thing to do," he said.

"It just makes it just a little bit less wrong what we did."

Carrier Sekani tribal chief Terry Teegee calls the name change a start for true reconciliation.

"I don't think we could have imagined it happening [in the past] ... we're living more in an information age and today's British Columbians wants to know the truth about this place we live in," he said.

The official renaming is expected to happen on June 21, or National Aboriginal Day.

Listen to the full story: Prince George park will be renamed

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