This Name Has No Place Here: Wolseley

Aug 29, 2021 at 1pm

We held a Renaming Rendezvous to address questions, concerns, and comments from community members in the Wolseley neighbourhood regarding the renaming of the area. This event was led by Red River Echoes, with accountability, transparency, harm reduction, and wahkohtowin as guiding principles for a safe and productive community dialogue.

The goal for the event was to be educational and welcoming, with the aim of helping those gathered be able to advocate for changing the name of the area. This includes addressing certain inevitable issues, for example the renaming of businesses with the name Wolseley. We planned this event to educate and to bring people on board with planning the renaming project, not to discuss its merits. The goals of this event were centered around community education and movement-building.

We'll have an update on how the event went soon! Stay posted!

Who was Wolseley?


In 1870, Anglo-Irish General Wolseley led a militia from Ontario and Quebec to control the residents at Red River shortly after the Province's foundation. He personally incited racism, violence, murder and displacement when his troops arrived here - this was directed at Indigenous peoples, especially the Métis. His militia violently forced Métis families from Red River and their lands; many never returned. Those who didn't flee faced assault, lynching and rape by Wolseley’s vicious troops. This period is known as the Reign of Terror.


Wolseley also led violent British colonial invasions of South Africa, Ashanti (Ghana), Egypt, Burma (Myanmar), and India. He provided support and military advice to Confederate Generals as they fought to preserve slavery during the US civil war and wrote a book ‘honouring’ Robert E. Lee, a racist and Confederate leader.

His name has no place here.

Renaming is imperative. Place names show the values our city and community hold. Renaming streets, monuments, and schools does not erase history. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that while certain historical figures should not be forgotten, they do not deserve celebration. The horrendous acts General Wolseley inflicted upon the Métis and First Nations, Black, and South-Asian peoples are no exception to this rule.

Renaming gives us an opportunity to bring Indigenous historical figures, teachings, and language back to the land. It promotes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for real integration of Indigenous history in our communities. Renaming gives us the opportunity to celebrate Indigenous existence in the face of continued efforts of genocide.

We deserve to choose to name our streets that guide our daily paths, that form our neighbourhoods, communities, and identity. This community is welcoming, supportive and wonderful. It deserves a name that reflects its real character.


Friends, Neighbours, Residents of Wolseley,


We invite you to join our call to remove of the name of General Wolseley from our streets, community, schools, and homeland.


Some schools, like Wolseley School, have playgrounds. Other “schools” had graveyards. In the wake of the continued findings of unmarked graves of Indigenous children, in the continued police and state-sanctioned violence against Indigenous and Black folk, People of Colour, people who use substances, and people without shelter or support, in the spirit of reconciliation, and in the broader quest to remove the names and statues of those who have harmed Indigenous people on these lands - we must rename Wolseley.


We can’t do this alone. The City will only agree to rename with loud calls from impacted residents.


Find a draft letter below that you can use to contact the following:


The Wolseley Residents Association,

City Councillors Cindy Gilroy and Sherri Rollins,

Mayor Brian Bowman, and

MLA for Wolseley Lisa Naylor.



Draft Letter


DEAR ______________,


I [insert name] demand the removal of the name of General Wolseley from our streets, schools, and community.


In the wake of the continuing horrors of unmarked mass graves of Indigenous children, in the continued police and state sanctioned violence against Indigenous and Black folks, and People of Colour, people who use substances, and people without shelter or support, in the spirit of reconciliation - we must rename Wolseley.


In 1870, General Wolseley led a militia of hundreds of white men to destroy, dominate, and murder Indigenous peoples in the Red River Valley. Wolseley personally incited anti-Indigenous racism, violence, murder, and displacment when his troops arrived in the Red River Valley. His militia violently forced Métis people off their lands. Those that couldn’t flee faced lynching and rape by Wolseley’s troops. Elzéar Goulet, James Tanner, Francois Guilmette, and H.F. O’Lone are just some of the Métis lynched by Wolseley’s militia.


Wolseley also led violent British colonial invasions of South Africa, Ashanti (Ghana), Egypt, Burma (Myanmar), and India. Wolseley was pro-slavery. Wolseley provided support and military advice to Confederate Generals as they fought to preserve slavery during the US civil war.


Renaming is imperative. Place names show the values our city and community hold. Renaming streets, monuments, and schools does not erase history. Instead, it is an acknowledgment that while certain historical figures should not be forgotten, they do not deserve celebration. The horrendous acts General Wolseley inflicted upon the Métis and First Nations, Black, and South-Asian peoples are no exception to this rule.


Renaming gives us an opportunity to bring Indigenous historical figures, teachings and language back to the land. It promotes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call for real integration of Indigenous histories in our communities. Renaming gives us the opportunity to celebrate Indigenous existence in the face of continued efforts of genocide.


We deserve to choose to name our streets that guide our daily paths, that form our neighbourhoods, communities, and identity. This community is welcoming, supportive, and wonderful. It deserves a name that reflects its real character.


I therefore demand the City of Winnipeg remove the name Wolseley from our streets and community. I stand in solidarity with my Métis, First Nations, Black and South-Asian friends and neighbours. I demand these changes in the spirit of reconciliation and the TRC’s call to action.


Who do you support, and who are you honouring?


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