Plaque on BMO building in Montreal boasts of city founder killing an Iroquois chief ‘with his own hands’ - APTN NewsAPTN News

Plaque on BMO building in Montreal boasts of city founder killing an Iroquois chief ‘with his own hands’



Tom Fennario

APTN National News

A Mohawk man wants the Bank of Montréal and the City of Montréal to address a plaque attached to the bank’s headquarters downtown that was written in honour of the city’s founder Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve.

The plaque reads: 

BMO-Plaque-resized-for-web

Michael Rice, who has a degree in history, told APTN that aside from being in bad taste, the plaque is historically inaccurate.

As the story goes, De Maisonneuve killed an Iroquois Chief using his pistol – not his own hands.

De Maisoneuve was the only witness to the event.

Rice said it’s a classic case of history being written by the victors.

“They make it sound like they’re just gold fish waiting to be killed. and Aboriginal, Haudenosaunee people are much more resilient than a goldfish or sheep waiting to be slaughtered,” said Rice. “We can give as good as we can get too.”

 

The building was built by the Royal Trust Company in 1912 – BMO has owned the property, what is now a heritage building, since 1983.

It’s not clear when the plaque was installed. 

BMO declined to be interviewed for this story – but said in an email that it has filed a request to the province of Québec to have the plaque changed.

“I don’t think taking these things down would take justice to history. I think these are teaching moments,” said Rice.

Contact Tom here: tfennario@aptn.ca

 

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16 Responses to “Plaque on BMO building in Montreal boasts of city founder killing an Iroquois chief ‘with his own hands’”

  1. pattywasiukow@yahoo.ca'
    Patricia August 2, 2017 at 11:47 pm #

    How white society imposed their laws on all Nations on the planet…. Time to tear this down…

    • aylell33h@gmail.com'
      aylward horrell August 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

      British/Canadian ….AGGRANDISMENT & “colonial thinking” of DEATH of “a MINORITY Culture” is an AFFRONT to “ALL” Humanity! REMOVE the “SICKENING” Plaque – IT’S the RIGHT THING to do! Nam Myoho Renge Kyo! nmrk! N.M.R.K.!

  2. mediamentor@gmail.com'
    George Lessard mediamentor.ca August 3, 2017 at 2:09 am #

    Since it seems to be in English only… I’ll bet it gets changed P.D.Q….

  3. krozon@hotmail.com'
    Kevin Rozon August 3, 2017 at 4:06 am #

    Interesting – I wonder how many people actually have read this plaque, but it still represents a miscue of history. Also, I am not sure that because the plaque is attached to the former Royal Trust building, that there is any direct relationship to the incident itself. The bank has only been around for 200 years.
    On another note, I am surprised that after many, many years of the Bank of Montreal being known as BMO…that many still pronounce it’s abbreviated name as ‘BEE – EM – OH’ rather than the correctly intended ‘BEE – MOE’ which was originally the stock ticker symbol for the Bank of the Montreal and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

  4. charny4@yahoo.ca'
    Jacques Paquin August 3, 2017 at 4:56 am #

    Why not replace the plaque with one more truthful and positive: August 3, 1701 – State funeral held in Notre Dame Church for Huron Grand Chief Kondiaronk (The Rat), who died while attending Louis de Callières’ peace conference with 38 Iroquois and Huron chiefs; attended by settlers of Ville-Marie, the governor of Montréal, Phillippe de Vaudreuil and staff officers, and 60 soldiers commanded by Pierre de Saint-Ours. Six warrior chiefs carry the coffin which holds flowers, a plumed hat and a sword. Sixteen Huron warriors in long beaver robes, their faces painted and with rifles under their arms, also escort the coffin. Huron and Outaouais warriors form a long line outside the church where Kondiaronk is buried, and after the ceremony all the armed men fire their muskets in the air. The following day, the Montréal peace treaty is signed, ending 14 years of fighting. Montréal, Québec

    • petermc@videotron.ca'
      Peter August 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

      I like it it almost sounds like you were there….I would put that he was killed during the conference from resulting hostilities.

    • Prvte@prve11122299.com'
      Me August 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      De Maisoneuve died in 1676 (about 26 years before your proposed changes).

      History is not about demonizing or whitewashing to make one group or another look a certain way. It is not a “feel good” kind of thing. That is not its purpose. More to the point – It is about trying to relate the truth – in an appropriate context and forum.

      For this reason, it is probably more appropriate that the plaque might simply be removed. BMO is simply doing the right thing in this case.

    • Jennifer@mail2jennifer.com'
      Ellen August 6, 2017 at 7:04 am #

      I like the idea of rewriting to accurately reflect the violent colonial history as something we are (allegedly) trying to move beyond. Removing it allows us to sweep under the rug a reality about which we need not to hide but to be reminded

      I question why this particular story is being told on this particular building.

  5. jayeffaar@gmail.com'
    J.F. Richard August 3, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    “Michael Rice, who has a degree in history, told APTN that aside from being in bad taste, the plaque is historically inaccurate.
    As the story goes, De Maisonneuve killed an Iroquois Chief using his pistol – not his bare hands.”

    Since the plaque says nothing about killing with bare hands, I don’t see what makes it historically inaccurate. The plaque says “in his own hands”, which implies he did it himself, but in no way excludes the use of a pistol.

    • Prvte@prve11122299.com'
      Me August 4, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

      The plaque is also in poor taste…

  6. nolindr@hotmail.com'
    Dianne August 3, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    To Mr Tom Fennario:
    The plaque does NOT say “… with his BARE hands”. It says “… with his OWN hands” which at that time meant that he is the one that shot the pistol.
    One small error in wording can get people more riled up!! As a reporter you should know better!

    • Mark Blackburn August 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

      Hello Dianne, thank you for writing APTN National News. The bare hands reference was an editor’s error not from Tom. It was corrected.

  7. nolindr@hotmail.com'
    Dianne August 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm #

    I have to add to my comment about the bare hands issue…
    Rice says history (this bit of history?) is written by the victors and they are not goldfish or sheep (which I have no idea how he infers that from the plaque) and “we can give as good as we get too.” Huh!
    So, should we also take down the monument in Lachine dedicated to the victims of the 1689 massacre that occurred at DAWN, killing women and children as they slept?? And captured and dragged away some settlers (including our ancestors) and tortured them for days?

    • Prvte@prve11122299.com'
      Me August 4, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

      Dianne,

      It seems to me that you are being just a little coy and disingenuous here. The plaque itself has rather violent imagery. It refers to an internecine affair in which someone is killed, murdered etc..

      What purpose such a plaque serves is beyond comprehension really (from either a historical or moral perspective). It is simply without context and offensive to any sensible audience.

      (And yes if you insist on nitpicking at the accuracy of the plaque – it does imply that the “Chief” was killed with the bare hands of De Maisonneuve.) But more importantly there is no way today that such a plaque would even be considered as appropriate – namely because it is not…

      I am not a Native Canadian myself – but to me you seem rather insensitive to the Native Canadian perspective here.

    • info@theymedia.com'
      Tony McGuire August 6, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

      The attack was precipitated by growing Iroquois dissatisfaction with the increased French incursions into their territory, and was encouraged by the settlers of New England as a way to leverage power against New France during King William’s War.

      Know your history chum.

  8. shuswapman@mail.com'
    gerald August 6, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    Yes was with a gun, hand to hand combat he would have lost.