Change the name of Pickett's Lane.

Change the name of Pickett's Lane.

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San Juan Social Justice Collective started this petition to San Juan County Council

This past year, due to highly publicized murders of Black citizens by police, we as a country finally began reckoning with our racist past. We have seen people come out in the thousands to protest, communities have started reimagining public safety, and confederate monuments have finally been removed from public spaces. It is for this reason we are writing to urge you to change the street name and associated signage of Pickett’s Lane. It is time we do our part. As Mayor Mitch Landrieu observed in his powerful speech on the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans, “there is a difference. . . between remembrance of history and the reverence of it.” We recognize that changing a street name on a small island is not going to solve this country’s racism problem. We also suspect that the majority of the population probably has no idea that George Pickett was a Confederate General. Nevertheless, we must start somewhere.


Not only was George Pickett a Confederate General, but he was also accused of war crimes against Northern Soldiers. On February 2, 1864, fifty-three North Carolinians were captured by Confederate forces under the command of General George E. Pickett. Most of these prisoners of war fell victim to diseases acquired in Southern camps. Twenty-two, however, were publicly hanged in Kinston, North Carolina. The order was given by a bitter George Pickett. After the war, he narrowly escaped a war crimes trial for the hangings when Ulysses S. Grant wrote an effective letter in his support. There are many things to honor on this island, George Pickett should not be one of them.


While we understand that the Pig War is the Island’s historic claim to fame, it has also contributed to the erasure of Indigenous History. One can find informative signage all over the island related to a conflict-free, five-year-long encampment, and yet there is very little acknowledgment of the groups that lived in these lands in the thousands of years before European colonizers arrived. We would also like to use this opportunity to advocate for and honor the Sooke, Saanich, Songhee, Lummi, Samish, and Semiahmoo tribes whose unceded land we live on. Therefore, should the street name get changed, we feel it would be appropriate to change it to something that honors the Indigenous history of the island, keeping in mind that these communities still exist today. Visual representation of these Indigenous groups is severely lacking on the island, and we are hopeful this small change will pave the way for more impactful action.

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