The report on Cornwallis is a good piece of work, but ironically, when it comes to how we reached this milestone moment, the report erases a long history of resistance to the statue and all that it stands for, much of it led by Mi’kmaw women.
As public debate rages about public space and memorialization, this is a chance to come and walk through the history together.
Appointing a panel to talk about the pros and cons of a statue has nothing to do with reconciliation. Reconciliation begins after white settlers commit to address injustice and make things right. Let’s tear the statue down, so reconciliation can begin.
When it comes to carding and Cornwallis councillors may protest how deeply they care about racism in our city, but their lack of action speaks louder than words.
I went to last night’s rally in solidarity with the people who battled fascism in Charlottesville. It was a wonderful event.
Rally this Tuesday at the Cornwallis statue in support with the people of Charlottesville and against our own Halifax white supremacist scum. The location is appropriate.
Sadie Beaton, Community Conservation Research Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, asks Mayor Mike Savage that no more precious time be wasted in getting rid of the Cornwallis statue. “Reconciliation can only begin when settlers and their governments and institutions truthfully reckon with the sometimes painful history of these lands. This history has allowed settlers to be the main beneficiaries of both the care with which Mi’kmaq communities have cared for these lands and waters, and the genocide that Cornwallis and others perpetuated.”
Historian Elliot Worsfold on Cornwallis and similar “renaming” debates: “historians should remind the public that these spaces, be they literal or ideological, have been known by many names and by many people throughout Canada’s history. Reclaiming those spaces through removing names, statues, or other symbols is more often a return to that place’s historic roots than those decrying the erasure of history often realize.”
Retired school teacher Carolyn van Gurp offers up a brief and powerful lesson to Halifax mayor and councillors. “You have a chance on Tuesday evening to begin to right years of wrong by placing the symbol of this treaty violation and subsequent atrocity where it belongs, in history books and a museum, not on a pedestal in a public park. Please make the decision to remove or relocate this statue in time for us all to truly celebrate Treaty Day together in October.”
Some more thoughts on the Cornwallis statue. It’s not about the historical record, it’s about racism.