Elected council votes unanimously to change name of Gaylord Powless Arena

SIX NATIONS — Six Nations Elected Council says they will change the name of the arena in Ohsweken — removing the name of Gaylord Powless and restoring the previous name of the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Arena.

A delegation approached Six Nations Elected Council on Tuesday night to ask again that Gaylord Powless’ name be removed from the arena.

Councillor Audrey Powless-Bomberry recused herself from the discussion and left the meeting due to a conflict of interest.

Council previously heard the groups concerns in 2019 during an emotional struggle between a committee of elders and relatives of Powless. Several community members shared their thoughts on either side of the issue — and as a result, SNGREC made a decision to keep the GPA name but to name the entire space in the village where the arena is located the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre.

On Tuesday — the group stated that they do not like that decision — claiming that the initial name change in 2001 was illegitimate.

The arena that stands at the heart of Ohsweken was originally named the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre in 1972 with a name change in 2001 to the Gaylord Powless Arena in a motion brought forward to council by a Six Nations community member following Powless’ passing.

According to historical records, SNEC passed a Band Council Resolution to change the arena name to the “Gaylord Powless Sports Centre” on July 24, 2001. A memo was then sent to Six Nations Parks and Recreation informing them of the change.

SNGREC unanimously passed a motion Tuesday, saying it will revert the name of the arena back to the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre — and possibly build a Hall of Fame honouring all Six Nations athletes and looking for a different way to honour Powless.

Currently the sports centre in Ohsweken includes the arena, the Six Nations Community Hall, Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre, lacrosse field, blue running track, a splash pad, an outdoor rink, skateboard park, plus the Six Nations ball diamond, horse track, a concession stand and is the current home of the Six Nations Parks and Recreation offices.

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