PEI

Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst name change up for discussion

A Mi’kmaq leader’s request to change the name of P.E.I.’s Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site will be discussed at a special meeting later this month.

Historic Sites board to consider name at August meeting before making recommendation to government

Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site in P.E.I. should not be named after Gen. Amherst, says Mi'kmaq leader Keptin John Joe Sark. (Parks Canada)

A Mi'kmaq leader's request to change the name of P.E.I.'s Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site will be discussed at a special meeting later this month.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada met at the end of June in St. John's but didn't reach a decision on the name change.

The board's mandate is to advise the federal government on the commemoration of nationally significant aspects of Canada's history.

It will meet again later this month to make a recommendation to Catherine McKenna, the minister responsible for Parks Canada.

Keptin John Joe Sark said the site in Rocky Point, which overlooks the Charlottetown harbour from the southwest, should be renamed to reflect its Mi'kmaq heritage.

Last January, Sark wrote a letter to McKenna formally requesting the name of the site be changed.

"Gen. Amherst didn't even live here. He didn't even come here. He never visited here, he never came to P.E.I., so why would they bother giving Parks Canada site his name? To me, he was a tyrant and a barbarian," Sark told CBC in February.

The park is named after General Jeffrey Amherst. Historians have found evidence in correspondence with others in the British military in the 1700s that Amherst advocated spreading the smallpox virus to aboriginal people using blankets. However, there is no direct evidence Amherst handed out smallpox-infected blankets himself.

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