Severn Road Renamed In Spirit Of Reconciliation


Township of Severn and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation worked together to choose a new name for Big Chief Road, located in the southeastern area of the Township (Ward 3).

In early 2022 Severn Council received a letter from Chief Ted Williams on behalf of Rama First Nation, requesting the renaming of Big Chief Road.

The new name of Woods Bay Road was approved by Severn Council in October 2022, after receiving the support of Rama Band Council in August of that same year. As part of the renaming process, Severn staff consulted with the affected residents, asking for suggestions for the renaming, and addressing any questions or concerns.

“Removing problematic place names is necessary for reconciliation and can actually contribute to a better sense of history and community. I’m proud to be part of a Council and to live in a community that is becoming increasingly educated about how we can contribute to the goal of reconciliation. This continues to be a learning experience for Severn, and as we build our relationship with Rama First Nation, we look forward to doing so with respect, patience, and courtesy.” —Mayor Mike Burkett, Township of Severn

“We appreciate Severn Township for their response to our concerns in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect. Reconciliation creates momentum for relationship building and cultural education as change is undertaken. We are seeing the results of positive public dialogue as issues regarding language use are resolved throughout the country. Gchi Miigwech, thank you, to Severn Township and the residents of Woods Bay Road for supporting this initiative.” —Chief Ted Williams, Rama First Nation

The Woods Bay Road sign was installed on February 1, and with this Severn joins municipalities across Canada that have begun to recognize how colonialism and discrimination are embedded in the names of public and municipal assets. Burkett also noted that the renaming of this road is a small step in a long but important journey toward reconciliation. He encourages the Severn community to support Indigenous peoples by contacting their Member of Parliament and Member of Provincial Parliament to ensure they and their offices are committed to fulfilling the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


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