Statue of Halifax founder who called for scalps of Mi'kmaq could be removed from park

Mi'kmaq historian and elder says Edward Cornwallis is "by no standards a hero to idolize." The statue is the latest controversial Canadian figure to have their commemoration contested.
Edward Cornwallis's statue was erected in the 1930s. (CBC)
Listen6:34
If Daniel Paul has his way, a statue of Edward Cornwallis will be removed from a downtown Halifax park. As the Mi'kmaq elder and historian told As It Happens host Carol Off, "I don't think it should remain in a public spot, [or he should] be idolized as a great man of history." 
It's time for the statue to go.- Daniel Paul, Mi'kmaq elder and historian
Edward Cornwallis founded Halifax in 1749. That same year, he issued a bounty for the scalps of Mi'kmaq men, women and children.

Paul has been successful in previous campaigns to remove Cornwallis' name from public places: in 2011, Cornwallis Junior High changed its name to Halifax Central, and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says he has asked that a sign for the Cornwallis River be removed.

On Dec. 11, the premier said he would ask Halifax city council to consider having the statue removed from the park.


Controversial Canadiana

What's in a name? The contentious statue of Edward Cornwallis isn't the only public wrangling over Canadian names.

Here's a look at other contested sites:

The N-word

The official name of these rapids on the Gatineau River south of Maniwaki, Que., includes a racial slur but they will now be renamed. (CBC)

In September, the Quebec Toponymy Commission ordered name changes for 11 sites in the province that contained the N-word, after a successful petition to get the names removed.

The commission recognized six place names that included the N-word in English and five with the word nègre.

Calgary's Langevin Bridge

Calgary's Langevin Bridge (Qyd via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Some people in Calgary started a petition to change the name of the city's Langevin Bridge. Hector-Louis Langevin, one of the founding Fathers of Confederation, played a key role in creating the residential school system.

Duncan Campbell Scott's revised plaque

A new plaque recognizing poet Duncan Campbell Scott's 'notorious' career with the Department of Indian Affairs was unveiled near his grave at Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery. (Robyn Miller/CBC Ottawa)

In November, a new plaque was unveiled near the grave of Duncan Campbell Scott, acknowledging his career as renowned poet and public servant — and his role in creating Canada's residential school system.

22 life-size statues of Canadian PMs

A controversial proposal to install 22 life-size statues of Canada's prime ministers found a home on Wilfrid Laurier University's Waterloo campus, but a petition's fighting the move.

Community members say the statues may alienate members of First Nations and other minority groups.

Critics point to John A. Macdonald, who, as Indian affairs minister, played key roles in building the Indian Act and the residential school system.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.