The “Amherst” in “Amherstburg” is causing some debate

 

By Ron Giofu

With reports that British General Jeffrey Amherst endorsed giving disease-infected blankets to Indigenous people, there have also been reports about the future of Amherstburg’s name.

However, the mayor said he has heard few public complaints and believes the town is better known for its accomplishments and inclusiveness over the last 200 years.

“I continue to try and get a meeting with members of the aboriginal community,” Aldo DiCarlo said after Monday night’s council meeting. “I would like their perspective on it.”

DiCarlo added that, as of Monday, “I have heard from very few people interested in changing the name.” He said that while other municipalities in Canada are changing street names and parks, it is more difficult to change the name of an entire town.

“Things like that are simple and straight-forward,” he said, of changing street names and parks.

Acknowledging the historical accounts, DiCarlo said “no one condones what Amherst did in that respect. Absolutely not.” However, he believes Amherstburg’s accomplishments, including being a stop on the Underground Railroad, show the inclusiveness and diversity that the town has been all about in the last two centuries.

“To me, that shows what Amherstburg has done to promote inclusiveness and human rights,” he said.

DiCarlo said the positive things that have occurred in Amherstburg over the years have been pointed out by other residents, most of whom want no part of a name change.

“At the end of the day, something that big would have to come from the residents,” he said.

In the meantime, the mayor added he will “continue to work in the background and see where we stand with the aboriginal community.”

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