Your View: Consider Native American name for U.S. Route 1

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Your View: Consider Native American name for U.S. Route 1
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By Michael Ford, Alexandria (File photo)

To the editor:
Since it is clear that U.S. Route 1 will not be renamed for Patrick Hen- ry since he owned slaves, who will the highway be named after?

I know that some wish that former Mayor Bill Euille would get that put on his resume, but he has a street named after him already. I would suggest that if we wish to have true diversity, the highway should be named after a Native American.

There are 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virgina and three distinctive tribes dominated the territory now known as Virginia during the late 16th century through the 17th century: the Powhatan, the Monacan and the Cherokee.

Although we already have a Powhatan Street, it doesn’t really represent the Native Americans who lived here before others who have streets bearing their names. It would seem in this age, when the idea that we need to start calling the Washington Red- skins something else, and strip Jefferson Davis’ name from thoroughfares, that we should recognize the people who were forced to move off their lands to reservations.

I would put forward that we should rename the highway John Ross or Koo-wis-gu-wi, after the Cherokee chief, or Chester Nez, the last of the original code talkers who died in 2014, or Opchanacanough, the chief of the Powhatan tribe in the days of the Jamestown colony in the early 1600s.

There are some that would oppose the last name, but is it really any different than having the highway named for Jefferson Davis? This is only one way we could go with the naming process.

There are many other cultures that have contributed, in one way or another, to Virginia and Alexandria. We should consider many options for the roadway and not haphazardly rename the street simply because the political climate demands a change.

The issue of diversity should not be just this side or that side, but of every side, as that’s what the word means: a range of different things.

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