MONTREAL- A Montreal street named after the British general Jeffery Amherst is being renamed Atateken Street in honour of the local Indigenous population.
Mayor Valerie Plante, Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton, Ghislain Picard, Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Regional Chief, were on hand to announce the end of Amherst Street.
Atateken is a Mohawk word that means brother and sister.
The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) wishes to announce that it is pleased with Montreal’s efforts at Reconciliation on this National Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
On Monday, the City of Montreal held a ceremony to introduce a Kanien’kéha-Language translation of its Charter of Rights and Responsibilities. The city, two of its boroughs and a prominent bank have all scheduled events that will have a positive impact on the relationship between the two cultures.
Yesterday, several Council Chiefs attended a ceremony in Verdun to inaugurate a new beach. The MCK was consulted on potential environmental impacts of the beach.
Today, three significant events are taking place. Two streets will be renamed to honor Indigenous history – one in Montreal, which will see the name of Jeffrey Amherst removed; the other in Lachine, which will make their announcement today.
At another ceremony, BMO (the Bank of Montreal) will rededicate a new, corrected historic plaque that had contained incorrect and offensive wording for many years.
Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton, and Ratitsénhaienhs Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Ross Montour & Harry Rice are sharing the responsibility of attending the various events. MCK Envoy Christine Zachary-Deom will also be attending certain events. Grand Chief Norton will speak at the Amherst Street renaming.
“The City of Montreal, the borough mayors of Lachine and Verdun, and BMO should all be commended for their Reconciliation efforts, “said Grand Chief Norton. “This acknowledgement of our people and language is almost unprecedented. The addition of the Tree of Peace symbol to the flag of the City of Montreal was the launching point of improved relations. We hope to build on these impressive efforts.”
The street had long been named for the general who oversaw the capitulation of Montreal on Sept. 8, 1760.
Amherst is accused of using blankets that he knew were contaminated with smallpox to quell Indigenous rebellions. His name appears across the continent and can be seen in such places as the town of Amherst, N.S., and Amherstburg, Ont.
Announcing the change on National Indigenous Peoples Day, Plante said the name is a significant step towards reconciliation. The name will become official at the end of the summer.