A statue of Edward Cornwallis has been sitting in a warehouse since the City of Halifax removed the controversial effigy last January.
To some, Cornwallis was regarded as the father of Halifax. But to others, he was a brutal British General who issued a bounty for Mi’kmaq scalps in 1749.
After much debate, and public controversy, city council voted to remove the statue as a step towards reconciliation. On Thursday, councillors took another step towards reconciliation.
Halifax Regional Council announced a 10-member committee that will decide what to do with the statue, and how to honor Mi’kmaq history.
Half of the committee is nominated by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
Chief Roderick Googoo of We’koqma’q First Nation, a co-chair of the committee, said in a statement from city hall that it is important the public remains involved in the process, and that Indigenous history is honored.
“The Mi’kmaq have been here since time immemorial and it is important that our history is also recognized and told. This process will start the dialogue on how we tell our stories, together.”
Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Morley Googoo said the darkest parts of history should not be kept secret.
“We need to look at new narratives, the old narratives had a lot of misinformation, a lot of no information and people react to that and only know that. The new narratives will be better for all of us in Canada,” Chief Morley Googoo said in a telephone interview.
Deputy Mayor Waye Mason said it is important to move forward, and is pleased with the committee, “I am truly excited by these diverse backgrounds, knowledge and thoughtful collaborators around the table.”
The committee includes experts in Mi’kmaq history, social justice, linguistics, community experience, and more.
Christina Simon from Paqntkek First Nation said that Cornwallis is a part of history, and we have to learn the good and the bad.
“The reason that you learn history is to ensure that is does not repeat itself,” she said in a text message.
The committee meetings are expected to start this fall.