Cornwallis rally in Halifax celebrates statue’s removal

– A group of protesters performed an Aboriginal honor song Sunday at the site where a statue of the controversial founder of Halifax was held a few days ago.
Dozens of people gathered in downtown Halifax to celebrate the removal of Edward Cornwallis’ bronze statue from a park named after him.

For some, the Halifax founder is a brave leader who founded this city with his soldiers and settlers trying to survive in the New World. Others portray him as the commander of a bloody and barbaric extermination campaign against the Mi’kmaq, as evidenced by the 1749 Proclamation of the Scalp, which encouraged soldiers and settlers to kill the Mi’kmaq in exchange amount of money.

The event was first to be held near the statue, to claim that it was debunked more than 85 years after erection. It was finally withdrawn last week after Halifax City Council chose to temporarily remove the monument until a committee looks into its long-term future.

Police were there on Sunday to monitor the peaceful demonstration.

Although a fraction of the hundreds of Facebook users who planned to participate in the rally were there, the atmosphere was happy on the scene.

The activists hope the removal of the statue sets the stage for getting rid of other tributes to Edward Cornwallis.

“It is not finished. The removal of the statues is only the beginning to reconciliation, “said Suzanne Patles, a protester.

Daniel Paul, a Mi’kmaq historian who has spent more than 30 years trying to highlight the dark heritage of Edward Cornwallis, came for a walk in the park for the first time without seeing the statue of the man who murdered his ancestors, he said.

“For me, it was a symbol of white supremacism. I am pleased that Nova Scotian society is progressing to such an extent that people in general are beginning to see something like this as an obstacle to good relations, “he told reporters.

At least one person appeared on Sunday to protest the withdrawal of the statue, worrying that part of the story would be erased.

But Mi’kmaq activist Rebecca Moore, who helped organize the event, argued that the goal was rather to “unearth” a more complete version of the story that acknowledges the injustices suffered by the Mi’kmaq.

Nicole D’lea

Nicole D’lea a graduate of UFT. She’s based in Toronto but spends 3-4 months a each year on the east coast where her parents run a dairy farm and winery. Nicole has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN Money, and the Huffington Post.

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