Reconciling aboriginal relationships with Canadians at no $ cost. Renaming Mt Cascade to Mount Riel
I wish to bring to your attention something that I have started with a couple of your fellow ministers. First I would like to state that my proposal would go a long way towards making present and future generations of indigenous peoples move inclusive in Canadian Society.
Secondly this will not be a great cost to Canadian society monetarily speaking. It will not require a investment on millions of dollars over a long period of time with no guarantee of a positive outcome.
Thirdly it is the proper thing to do. I am sure there is some legal basis for my request however the moral justification for this outweighs all other reason. It will go a long way towards reversing some of the negative effects of colonialism. In addition it will show that the present government is sincere in it’s actions towards it’s indigenous citizens.
As I have stated I wish the iconic mountain Mount Cascade as it is presently named be changed to Mount Riel. First off their is no Mount Riel of any kind in the entire country. This seems strange as he was one of the forefathers of our country, negotiated a peoples representation into the Canadian confederacy and by and far the father of the Metis people.
He fairly represented native, french and english mixed race peoples by bringing into the newly formed nation of Canada the province of Manitoba. (Ironically, just down the road is Mount Douglas the surveyor responsible in no small part for the Red River Rebellion by blindly surveying and and ignoring land parcels as they had been agreed up by the peoples who had occupied the Red River District for over a century.)
As I am sure you have been to Banff you can’t help but notice the massive peak ( perhaps the most iconic in all of Canada). This mountain was named Cascade by James Hector who was a member of the 1856/58 Palliser expedition. The Palliser expedition was commissioned in England to survey the (then) NWT for it’s exploitive value in the terms of mineral wealth, farming potential and catalogue plant species among other things.
The expedition members took it upon themselves to rename large recognizable landmarks after themselves and/or their patrons. It can quite easily be argued that they had no legal authority to be renaming landmarks. I am sure we all can in some way understand the colonial mindset of the era. As indigenous peoples were no more then a source of labour in Canada and later a inconvenience. The fact remains that the treaties with the natives of the area had yet to be signed. This was still indigenous peoples land at the time the Palliser expedition did their survey.
“Treaty 7 is one of 11 Numbered Treaties signed between First Nations and the Crown between 1871 and 1921. The treaty established a delimited area of land for the tribes (a reserve), promised annual payments and/or provisions from the Queen to the tribes and promised continued hunting and trapping rights on the "tract surrendered". In exchange, the tribes ceded their rights to their traditional territory, of which they had earlier been recognized as the owners.”
It is worth pointing out that indigenous peoples had occupied this area for over 10,000 years and that all the landmarks already had been named. Something that Hector and other members of the expedition could have easily found out had the simply asked their interpreters in conversation with the natives that they had encountered.
I initially sent my request to the heritage minister Mélanie Joly. As my request lies in the jurisdiction of a national park I believed that she was the one with authority to make the required changes. A few months later I find that my request for a name change of ( what is now ) Cascade to Riel was passed to the Minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna.
The small sub peak lookers left of Mt Cascade is named Stoney Squaw and is identified this way on Canadian topographical maps. I would like to suggest that this peak’s name be changed to Mt Dumont (as you know Riel’s right hand man in the 1885 resistance in Batoche). The peak to the left again is Mt Norquay named aft James Norquay, manitoba's premier 1857 to 1897 and a proud Metis himself. The remaining of this peak is more then just symbolic gesture. It show a real understanding of the importance of greater esteem required by indigenous youth to reverse the effects of colonization.
While there is precedence for such a change in other parts of the world I believe they are not worth mentioning as Canada is a nation of leaders. This is what I believe. In addition I have seen more positive movement towards the correction of past injustices in the last 6 months then I have in the past 30 years. Feel free to keep up the good work
Member of the Alberta Metis Association
Father of 4