Nova Scotia

Kentville forming committee to change name of Cornwallis Street

The Town of Kentville, N.S., is setting up a committee to rename a street named after a former British military officer who issued a so-called scalping proclamation against Mi'kmaw men, women and children.

'This is not about changing history, but reconciliation,' says Coun. Eric Bolland

This statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax was taken down in 2018 and has been in storage ever since. A street named after him in Kentville, N.S., will be changed. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Town of Kentville, N.S., is setting up a committee to rename a street named after a former British military officer who issued a so-called scalping proclamation against Mi'kmaw men, women and children.

Edward Cornwallis, the British governor of Nova Scotia between 1749 and 1752, founded Halifax in 1749. He issued the proclamation that same year and offered a bounty to anyone who carried out the killings.

Town council voted in favour of changing the name on June 29. Coun. Eric Bolland made the motion and said he was inspired after attending a local Black Lives Matter rally in June.

"At the end of the day, we are on their [Mi'kmaw] land," said Bolland. "This is not about changing history, but reconciliation."

He pointed out that the owners of the former Cornwallis Inn in Kentville have already changed the name of their business to the Main Street Inn.

Aim is to change name within 60 days

The new committee will include representatives of nearby Mi'kmaw communities.

"It's something we want to resolve in the next 30 to 60 days," said Bolland.

Cape Breton regional council has also voted to rename Sydney's Cornwallis Street. Residents will have input into what the new name will be. A decision is expected by the end of July.

Halifax's task force on the commemoration of Cornwallis and Indigenous history came up with 20 recommendations, which will be debated at Tuesday's council meeting.

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