PEI

Commemoration, not celebration, could be part of Fort Amherst name debate

The distinction between commemoration and celebration needs to be taken into account when considering a name change at Port-La-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site, says the newest member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Mi'kmaq leader requested Amherst name be dropped from historic P.E.I. site

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada said it could not recommend removing Amherst from the name of the site, but it could add an Indigenous name. (CBC)

The distinction between commemoration and celebration needs to be taken into account when considering a name change at Port-La-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site, says the newest member of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Last year, Mi'kmaq Grand Council Keptin John Joe Sark requested the name Amherst be removed from the site, saying General Jeffrey Amherst was an enemy of Indigenous people.

Harry Holman was not on the board when it recommended in the spring the name Amherst remain on the historic site, but the file on the site's name is still open.

Holman said historic sites are evolving and their names can serve multiple purposes.

There is a difference between celebration and commemoration, says Harry Holman. (Mitch Cormier/CBC)

"We have seen with the federal government in the last few years, a recognition that there are whole areas of history which we need to commemorate. Not necessarily celebrate, but commemorate," said Holman.

"Canadian history is not always about the good news stories, as a country we've grown and we've built on mistakes that we've made, and some of those mistakes need to be recognized and commemorated."

Holman said Port-la-Joye Fort Amherst was not on the agenda at his first meeting.

now