Rejoice or reproach: Winnipeggers react to Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th birthday
New Canadians say Macdonald helped create home, professor of Native studies says Macdonald destroyed it
On Sunday, what would have been Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th birthday, at least one Canadian will be doing anything but celebrating.
"He was the architect of a genocidal legacy in this country," said Niigaan Sinclair, professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba.
Sinclair said Canada's first prime minister is regarded as a hero, but one must only visit a history book to learn that to indigenous people, he was merely someone who facilitated challenge and tragedy.
"A man who resigned due to a bribery scandal, as an individual who curated corrupt legislation in relation to indigenous people; who sent armies to massacre communities on the plains when they refused to move for the train and for refusing to negotiate treaty: This not somebody we should be celebrating," Sinclair said.
Bashir Khan of the Pakistan Canada Cultural Equation of Manitoba has a different perspective.
Khan, who has collected nine letters written by Macdonald himself, said by celebrating Macdonald's birthday, Manitobans are celebrating the multicultural country he created.
"The fact that Canada was not founded like a European country with one dominant race," Khan said.
Canada's history regarding indigenous people is not unknown to Khan, but he says he still needs to honour the man who created his adopted home.