Dear Friends:

 

Borderland Pride stands with other equity-seeking groups in our region, including two-spirit people and local Indigenous communities.

 

That's why we are writing today to strongly encourage our supporters to write to the Mayor and Council of the Town of Fort Frances to rename Colonization Road and show leadership on reconciliation.

 

Colonization is an oppressive concept that stands for the subjugation of Indigenous people. Fort Frances is built on colonized land, and Canada itself is built on a sad legacy of colonial policy. Those policies included efforts to marginalize Indigenous people, steal their land, destroy their identities and culture through residential schools, and inflict pain and family destruction through the 'sixties scoop'. Colonial policies live on today and continue to impact people who live here, both directly and as a result of intergenerational trauma.

 

For these reasons, it is completely inappropriate for the Town of Fort Frances to continue to memorialize the concept of colonization with a prominent street name. In fact, it may also be contrary to Ontario's human rights and discrimination laws. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada also specifically called for municipal governments to repudiate concepts like colonization. Numerous municipalities have done so, including Emo, Dryden, and Kenora in our region. Blind River and Lake of Bays in Ontario and St. Clements in Manitoba have made similar decisions.

 

Opposition to this necessary change has been very vocal, which is why Indigenous people and their allies need to speak out. Not only is it time to remove references to colonization from our streets, but we should use this opportunity to celebrate local Indigenous heritage.

 

ACTION REQUESTED: Please email cvangel@fortfrances.ca by March 10 to urge the Mayor and Council to rename Colonization Road this spring. We have provided a sample letter at this link that you may wish to use for this purpose.

We encourage Fort Frances residents, those who work or go to school in the community, those with family or personal ties to Fort Frances, and those who live in neighbouring communities and First Nations to write in.

 

This effort is just one small step in our community's path toward reconciliation. The Town of Fort Frances made commitments to this journey in its own strategic plan and in a Declaration of Friendship with the Agency One First Nations. Let's hold our leaders to live up to these promises and to lead a positive and well-meaning dialogue on reconciliation.

 

Miigwetch,

 

Borderland Pride