The park and pool were named after Edgar Dewdney, who, in the 19th century, was titled Indian Commissioner of the North-West Territories, which included Saskatchewan, Alberta and parts of B.C.
His policies included withholding rations from Indigenous People to force them to settle on reserves.
Dewdney chose Regina as the region’s capital in 1882 before Saskatchewan was a province.
Regina mayor Sandra Masters joined members of the Indigenous community and city council along with Saskatchewan’s lieutenant governor Russ Mirasty – the province’s first Indigenous person to hold the position.
“The change to Buffalo Meadows is a beautiful reference to the history of this community,” Mirasty said.
Masters said it’s a step forward in the ongoing journey to reconciliation.
“This is a significant time of conversation about the history of our community and our nation, and it is important that we continue to make space for listening and learning, together,” Masters said.
“The City of Regina is committed to diversity, inclusion and reconciliation. The naming of Buffalo Meadows reminds us of the value of shared space, in which all community members can gather with family and friends.”
Located in the heart of Treaty 4 territory, Regina sits on the land that was once roamed by hundreds of thousands of bison, also known as buffalo.
“The buffalo and buffalo hunt were an essential way of life and central to social, economic and cultural foundations for all these Nations,” the city said in a press release Thursday.
“It was a way of life devastated by settlement, the building of the railroad and industrial agriculture on the prairies. Not only does the buffalo represent resilience, it represents the need to bring communities together.”
In July, a 600-signature petition was submitted to the City of Regina by the advocacy group Decolonizing Relations, requesting the name change. It was one of many Indigenous groups advocating for the change.
City council voted in favour of changing the name in April.