Native protesters celebrated a political victory in song on Sunday as the statue of Gen. Edward Lord Cornwallis is no longer standing in a Halifax, Nova Scotia park.
As the Canadian Press reports, if the city council had not voted last week to remove the monument, the celebration might have been an angry demonstration.
Cornwallis, a celebrated military hero who fought on the British side of the Revolutionary War, was also the founder of Halifax.
But for First Nations, he has become a bête noire of racism in the last few years — a man now accused by some of demanding the scalps of the Indigenous Mi’kmaq and by others of fomenting genocide.
The statue “had such a nice view,” celebrant Suzanne Patles told Canadian Press as she strode atop the pedestal that once sat beneath the Cornwallis statue. She added, “But it’s our view now, because we’re taking over. … It’s time for the Indigenous uprising.”
The statue had stood for 85 years in a park that — for the moment anyway — is also named after the British general. Halifax council voted 12-4 to move the statue to a storage facility until they can decide what to do with it — there have been calls to put it in a museum. The council apparently acted last week because its members were concerned that Sunday’s celebration might have turned into a violent protest otherwise, CP reports.
Halifax police were nonetheless on-scene on Sunday to watch the jubilation. Natives vow they aren’t finished yet and have a few more memories of Cornwallis to remove in town.