Wîhkwêntôwin: Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood to get new Cree name

By News Staff

An Edmonton neighbourhood is one step closer to receiving a new name.

The Oliver neighbourhood may soon be known as Wîhkwêntôwin, a Cree word that means “a Circle of Friends.”

The neighbourhood was named after Frank Oliver, a journalist and politician who is known for starting the city’s first newspaper, the Edmonton Bulletin.

As federal minister of the interior and the superintendent general of Indian affairs under the Sir Wilfrid Laurier, from 1905-1911, Oliver supported legislation that forced Indigenous People from their land. He was also instrumental in federal policies that limited immigration from non-European countries.

Dropping Oliver’s name from the neighbourhood – and namesakes within it – has been something advocates have been demanding for years.

The Oliver Community League unveiled the new name Tuesday.

“We are deeply grateful to Elder Jerry Saddleback for gifting us this Cree name, and to the members of the Renaming Circle and community for their important contributions,” the group said in a news release.

“Frank Oliver’s name and harmful legacy do not reflect the diversity and spirit of inclusion our community represents, and a process was initiated to change the name.”

The new name will need to be approved by the city’s executive committee. It’s expected to be discussed Feb. 7. City council must then give final approval.

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