(Fredericton) The Government of New Brunswick has indicated that it does not intend to change the name of the Saint John River to its original Aboriginal toponym.

At a parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday, Green Party Leader David Coon questioned Indigenous Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn about the Wolastoqey Nation’s 2021 application to restore the Wolastoq name to the river of the province.

Ms. Dunn replied that this river crosses international borders, which complicates matters, and that the government had “no intention” of making the name change.

In a statement, Chief Allan Polchies of the Maliseet community of St Mary’s argues that if the government is really serious about reconciliation, it should restore the river to “its rightful name”.

New Brunswick’s Commissioner on Systemic Racism, Manju Varma, recommended last December that the river be renamed Wolastoq Saint-Jean.

Wolastoq, which means “the beautiful river” in Maliseet, was also the name adopted in 2011 by Ottawa when the cultural landscape along the 700 kilometer river was designated the Wolastoq National Historic Site of Canada.