Only a few hours after being covered up, the statue of Edward Cornwallis has already been unveiled.
Municipal workers, under orders from
It was a compromise from municipal officials hoping to keep the peace as nearly 300 people gathered in the city’s south end in anticipation of toppling the bronze sculpture.
“I’m not suggesting the
After a prayer ceremony from Mi’kmaw elder Isabelle Knockwood, the tarp was lowered to cheers and raised fists from the crowd. Afterward, those assembled participated in a round dance to traditional Mi’kmaw drumming and song.
Fewer than three hours later, the tarp had already been removed.
The former governor of Nova Scotia founded the city of Halifax in 1749, in violation of existing treaties with Indigenous peoples. The same year, Cornwallis issued a bounty for Mi’kmaw scalps.
His statue has in recent years become a lightning rod for Halifax’s reconciliation efforts with the Mi’kmaq people—or lack thereof. Saturday’s protest was the latest civic action,
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Knockwood said she understood the tarp was only a temporary measure but hoped it would be a means of education about the area’s history.
“I want it to
Earlier in the day,
Savage promised he’d present the document to city council at its Tuesday meeting but admitted he wasn’t sure if all the actions could be met.
“I don’t want to make a promise in the face of potential protest,” the mayor said.
“I think truth and reconciliation
Mayor Mike Savage joins the protest at the now-covered Cornwallis statue https://t.co/EZNzQj1Br3— THE COAST HALIFAX (@TwitCoast) July 15, 2017
Council voted back in April to form an expert panel and examine how the city commemorates its founder. The members of that panel won’t even be assembled until at least September, and a timeline for when it will report back to city hall is very much still up in the air.
Although there’s no legal holdout stopping council from voting to remove the statue right now, Savage said the municipality has to continue examining the issue fully, from all perspectives, if the situation is ever going to be permanently resolved.
“There are a number of people who very strongly do not want the statue down,” Savage said.
Likening the issue to LGBT rights, the mayor said many of his former colleagues in Parliament used to be opposed to gay marriage, but have now come around to support those causes. A similar slow-but-steady march towards progress will be needed, Savage says, to determine the final fate of Edward Cornwallis’ statue.
“I think you move forward on things like this, but I think you respect both sides.”