FRAMINGHAM – In 2018, Christa McAuliffe Charter School student Elana Gelfand felt uncomfortable about the name Indian Head Road, due to the historical suffering of indigenous people.
After doing research, including speaking with indigenous rights activists, Gelfand came to the Framingham City Council to express her concerns with the naming of Indianhead Road and Indian Head Heights.
The Council asked City Historian Fred Wallace to investigate the origin of the name. Upon completion of his research, Wallace determined that both the Indian Head Road and Indian Head Heights names are descriptors of a specific geological feature.
“The naming of these two streets probably dates to the early to mid-twentieth century, when the developer found a reference to the name ‘Indian Head,’ and with little concern for its origins or meaning, chose it.
At the time, the issues over indigenous people were non-existent,” said Wallace, who suggested the City of Framingham place a historical marker in the neighborhood, providing some background and early history.
On Wednesday afternoon, the City unveiled the marker on Indian Head Heights at the water tower.
A ceremony recognized the history and provided background on the Indian Head Road and Indian Head Heights neighborhood. Gelfand attended the ceremony, along with Mayor Yvonne Spicer; At-Large City Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll; Wallace, and Nipmuc Tribe member Larry Spotted Crow Mann.
“I would like to commend Ms. Gelfand both for taking a stand on an issue in which she sees a social injustice, and on her willingness to bring the matter to the attention of our government and the public,” said Wallace, in a media release issued by the City.