PEI

P.E.I. First Nations chiefs want to work on 'larger plan' to fight racism after decision to keep statue

Leaders of P.E.I.'s First Nations say they want to work with the City of Charlottetown on a "larger plan" on education and reconciliation, and to fight systemic racism that continues to hurt Indigenous people.

Chiefs want to work with City of Charlottetown after decision to keep statue of Sir John A. Macdonald

Council in Charlottetown voted Thursday to open dialogue with Indigenous groups over what to do with a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in the downtown core. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Leaders of P.E.I.'s First Nations say they want to work with the City of Charlottetown on a "larger plan" to fight racism, following city council's decision to keep a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald.

"The Mi'kmaq First Nation leadership is very interested in working with the City of Charlottetown on a larger plan for education and reconciliation," said a written statement issued Friday.

"The chiefs have taken the stance that they will continue to work towards impacting real change on the systemic racism that still impacts our people today."

City council voted Thursday night to reach out to Indigenous leaders, to discuss how best to address concerns about the statue.

The statue was vandalized last week, amid calls from Indigenous-rights activists to remove the bronze figure of Canada's first prime minister.

Macdonald is widely recognized as the architect of residential schools, which separated Indigenous children from their parents and led to abuse and problems that have festered for more than a century.

Darlene Bernard is the elected chief of Lennox Island First Nation. Roddy Gould Jr. is the elected chief of Abegweit First Nation. Their joint statement was issued by a representative of L'nuey, an initiative focused on protecting, preserving and implementing the constitutionally-entrenched rights of the Mi'kmaq of P.E.I.

The Native Council of P.E.I. declined comment Friday. It said it had not been approached by the city yet, and would consult its membership before responding.

More from CBC P.E.I.

now