Ancestral Drive is now in place.
New signs bearing that name were erected on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, replacing the former Lord Amherst Drive.
“It is incumbent on governments at all levels to consider the impact of colonization on Indigenous Peoples and their responsibilities in respect to reconciliation measures,” Mayor David Kogon said. “While renaming this street will not make everyone happy, the town council believes it is a small step in the right direction, one that helps our diverse town move towards meeting our goal of being a more inclusive and equitable community.”
Installing the street signs culminated a process that began when many concerned citizens expressed their belief that Lord Jeffery Amherst’s controversial legacy and his actions against Indigenous Peoples wasn’t something the people of Amherst should be proud of.
Amherst town council directed its then newly formed Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory Committee to come up with a recommendation for a new street name.
The committee received several suggestions. Each one had an inclusion, diversity and equity lens applied to it. After careful consideration of each suggestion, the committee, in its first ever recommendation to council, recommended council adopt the name Ancestral Drive.
Council approved the recommendation in May 2022 and directed the name change take place in February 2023 in order to give the businesses on the street adequate notice of the switch.
“The Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Advisory Committee gave careful consideration to several past and current Amherst residents as well as themes or expressions that promoted council’s new vision for an inclusive community,” Coun. Hal Davidson, the committee’s chairperson said.
“That being said, the key factor resulting in the committee recommending Ancestral Drive to council was its unequivocal inclusiveness in promoting the efforts of all of our ancestors in building this great town, no matter who you were or where you lived.
“I’m very proud of the Town of Amherst taking practical steps to promote our vision of being an inclusive community.”