A War of Words: Toronto Goes Native, One Street Sign At a Time

A War of Words: Toronto Goes Native, One Street Sign At a Time

Lynn Armitage

A small group of Anishinaabe activists in Toronto, Ontario, is trying to reclaim the roads, streets and landmarks of the city by renaming them in their native language.

The Ogimaa Mikana (Leader’s Trail) Project, inspired by the Idle No More Movement, was founded by Hayden King and Susan Blight, members of the Anishinaabe tribe.

“The Project hopes to re-insert Indigenous peoples into a landscape that often obscures or makes them invisible,” King explains.

Blight adds, “Small, everyday acts can serve as reminders that indigenous people are here, in the now…and we’re watching. We won’t allow our presence and our contributions to be erased.”

So far, the activists have installed six signs throughout Toronto, generating positive feedback from non-Indigenous people, too, who have been asking, “How has Toronto gotten away with ‘Indian Road’ for so long?”

The Ogimaa Mikana Project posts its images to Tumblr at ogimaamikana.tumblr.com.

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