Around New England

Middle-Schooler Cries Foul on Indian Street Names; Residents Fight Back

The Framingham City Council considered and then shot down a proposal by a middle school student to change the names of streets in Framingham that have the word “Indian” in them.

The student told the city council that the names of Indian Head Road and Indian Head Heights, two streets on the north side of Framingham, are offensive because they imply violence against Indians (“Head”) and because Christopher Columbus coined the term “Indian” because he thought he had reached the East Indies when he encountered the Americas.

A city historian pointed out that “Indian Head” first appears on a 1682 map of the area, and that the “Head” part “likely refers to a geographical feature, such as a hilltop or rocky outcropping, and not to the heads of natives,” according to The MetroWest Daily News.

The city council chairman said councilors got strong pushback from residents not interested in having the names of the streets changed.

Instead, the city council voted to have a historical plaque put up honoring American Indian history in the neighborhood and passed a resolution asking the Framingham School Committee to expand the local public schools’ curriculum on American Indian history.



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