By Sarah McCarthy and John Borst
The Dryden Working Circle Committee continues its efforts to bring both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together.

That’s what committee members, Executive Director of the Dryden Native Friendship Centre Cheryl Edwards and Dryden City Councillor Shayne MacKinnon reported to the Rotary Club of Dryden during their virtual meeting Wednesday.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

“One thing the group was working towards was for City council to utilize a (traditional) land acknowledgement,” says Edwards. “I’m pleased to say, we have accomplished this. The City now has (and uses) two different land acknowledgements on its website. One for everyday meetings and another for special events.” For the first time, Dryden Rotary also opened their meeting with a land acknowledgement statement.

Colonization Avenue Renaming Issue

The renaming of Colonization Avenue is also underway, with the deadline to submit a new name by March 13.
While it’s been a debated issue to rename the street, Edwards says the group looked at the local impacts and the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada’s mandate when recommending this change.
“The word colonization is more than just the name of a street. It actually glorifies the process and attempts to destroy Indigenous peoples in general,” Edwards said.
MacKinnon explained that the formation of the working circle was an important step in the City’s strategic goal, “to foster positive relationships with Indigenous peoples.”
“We’ve gone to great lengths, through City Council, to social media and by any means we can, certainly in consideration of COVID restrictions right now, on educating everyone in the community about the need to change the name of Colonization Avenue,” MacKinnon explained.
MacKinnon goes on to say the cost to change all the street signs is about the $3,000 mark, with little or no cost for residents to change their address.
Edwards described the planned timeline; “The naming process is January to March, a full recommendation and council vote hopefully in April, planning process and preparation in May and the naming community event would be on June 21st.”
The committee has also proposed guidance and a helpline on the City website to assist residents in changing their address.
The working circle has hopes for the naming to be a larger celebration with the community on the 21st, of June 2021, as it’s Indigenous Peoples day, depending on no COVID-19 restrictions.
Educational resources, about the working circle and the history behind Colonization Avenue, can all be found on the City of Dryden website.