Shawn Vestal’s October 4 article, “Time has come to change street’s name,” regarding changing the name of Fort George Wright Drive, mentions a 1994 Spokane Falls Community College faculty/administrator meeting in which this issue was discussed.
At that time, I was vice president of SFCC and attended the meeting. No formal decision was reached but a consensus did develop. It was felt human beings sometimes do terrible things to other people and we need to frequently be reminded of this.
It was part of the consensus that George Wright’s actions against the Native peoples were horrendous and somehow there needed to be very visible public reminders of this; maybe leaving the street name, with obvious public displays recounting his atrocities. Just changing the street name does not accomplish this. Much the same argument John Lewis made regarding the Edmund Pettis Bridge. This is a valid point.
However, I think the name should be changed. In 1994, my thoughts were the same. The Native peoples are exceptionally good at coming up with place/event names. They should be able to create a name in their own language which when translated reminds us of their pain and suffering caused by the inhumane treatment of them and the slaughter of approximately 800 of their horses by a mean and cruel U.S. Calvary officer.