Cornwallis debate: Coast guard working with Indigenous group to alter ship identify



The federal government is asking an Indigenous group in Nova Scotia to recommend a new name for a Canadian Coast Guard ship that is currently named after a British military officer who called for the extermination of the Mi'kmaq people. Contractors remove the statue of Edward Cornwallis, a controversial historical figure, in a city park in Halifax on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Cornwallis, the military officer who founded Halifax in 1749, offered a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi'kmaw person. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The federal authorities is asking an Indigenous group in Nova Scotia to suggest a brand new identify for a Canadian Coast Guard ship that’s at the moment named after a British army officer who known as for the extermination of the Mi’kmaq individuals. Contractors take away the statue of Edward Cornwallis, a controversial historic determine, in a metropolis park in Halifax on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. Cornwallis, the army officer who based Halifax in 1749, provided a money bounty to anybody who killed a Mi’kmaw particular person. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

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HALIFAX – The federal authorities is asking an Indigenous group in Nova Scotia to suggest a brand new identify for a Canadian Coast Guard ship named after a British army officer who provided a bounty for the scalps of Mi’kmaq individuals.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan issued an announcement right now saying Ottawa desires to work with the Meeting of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs to proper the wrongs of the previous.

Federal officers say the icebreaker, referred to as Canadian Coast Guard Ship Edward Cornwallis, is present process a refit in Nova Scotia and will likely be renamed later this 12 months earlier than it leaves the Shelburne Shipyard.

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Cornwallis is maybe greatest referred to as the person who based Halifax in 1749, however his mission to determine a garrison included eliminating Indigenous resistance and, at one level, approving a scalping proclamation to “take or destroy the savages.”

The federal authorities says Cornwallis sought to drive the Mi’kmaq from their lands via “barbaric measures.”

Jordan says she is going to work with Chief Terry Paul, co-chairman of the meeting, to give you a brand new identify.

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“Reconciliation is crucial to our nation’s future, and advancing it’s the duty of each particular person and establishment,” Jordan stated in an announcement. “By renaming the Cornwallis, we take one other step in righting the wrongs of our nation’s previous.”

Paul described the transfer by the coast guard as “reconciliation in motion.”

“The Mi’kmaq have known as this land house since time immemorial, nonetheless, the darkish legacy of early settlers continues to function a painful reminder of the inequalities that also exist right now,” he stated in an announcement.

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Cornwallis’s identify has already been faraway from a church and a faculty in Halifax, and a road in Sydney, N.S. In January 2018, a statue of the person was faraway from a park in downtown Halifax.

“Cornwallis’s legacy doesn’t replicate the values Canadians maintain right now, and his identify is a painful reminder to many Indigenous peoples of the racism and inequality their ancestors endured and that many nonetheless face right now,” the Fisheries and Oceans Division stated in an announcement.

The ship entered service in 1986 and its house port is the Canadian Coast Guard base in Dartmouth, on the east aspect of Halifax harbour.

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Earlier this 12 months, a $12.1-million contract was awarded to Shelburne Ship Restore to refit the vessel to increase its service. That work is anticipated to be accomplished early subsequent 12 months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed June 30, 2020.

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