“Seal off” Sir John. A statue in PEI to prevent selfies: Indigenous Activists

“Seal off” Sir John A. statue in PEI to prevent selfies: Indigenous Activists
Canadian Press
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A local Indigenous group from Prince Edward Island has issued recommendations for Charlottetown's statute of Sir John A. Macdonald, after it was vandalized with red paint last summer.

After the vandalism, Charlottetown's city councillors voted unanimously to keep the seated statue of Canada's first prime minister on display at the entrance of Victoria Row. Mayor Philip Brown commented before the meeting that “reconsideration of public statues” is part of the anti-racism “healing process.”

In response to the statement and vote, an Indigenous activist named Jenene Wooldridge, whose group L'nuey focuses on the Constitutional rights of Prince Edward Island's Mi'kmaq people, stated that she is against the necessity of tearing the statue down:

“Instead of that empty place on the bench for tourists to take smiling pictures, why don't we have signage that tells his true story? Without truth we don't get to reconciliation.”

The resolution passed by the Charlottetown council at the time stated that the “full story” needs to be told, and that Indigenous leaders would be brought in to discuss the fate of the installation.

And now, the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, which is a joint forum that “governs organizations that act in the shared interest of Abegweit First Nation and Lennox Island First Nation”, has issued their own statement on the statue.

This statement, which includes some recommendations, was signed by Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard and Chief Junior Gould from Abegweit First Nation.

According to a CBC report, the group has five recommendations for improving the statue:

Add another figure such as an Indigenous child or elder.

Fill in or seal off the empty space on the bench so it can't be used for photo opportunities.

Install signage so viewers understand "the devastating role that Sir John A. Macdonald played in the Indigenous history of Canada."

If the artist engaged is not Indigenous, a Mi'kmaq artist should be hired as a consultant.

Complete the work as soon as reasonably possible with elements in place by spring at the latest.

John Alexander Macdonald was born in Scotland in 1815 and held the Charlottetown Conference in 1864 to work out the details of the Confederation of Canada.

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  • By Tamara Ugolini

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