When the statues fall

A special report from La Converse about Indigenous figures who could replace current Canadian statues.

Today we are sharing a story written by our colleagues at La Converse, a community-powered media in service of francophone Canadians made by and for people who want to change the world. This story has been translated from French to English and it starts, like all La Converse stories, with a transparency note from the reporter who wrote it. 

Kwe Kwe, it’s Nahka!

The statues of John A. Macdonald, Christopher Columbus, and James McGill are losing their luster. Two weeks ago, an article appearing in the American publication Indian Country Today, suggested 10 Indigenous figures that could replace Christopher Columbus. As a Dene and Quebecois, I was inspired by this process and wanted to apply it to our Canadian reality.

While writing this article, the notion I had of what a statue is evolved in response to the Indigenous world-views I came across. Some of the people I interviewed told me that they did not see the statues of John A. Macdonald replaced by Indigenous personalities, but rather by works that highlight encounters, the natural world, and Indigenous worldviews. There are an enormous number of Indigenous historical figures who should be honoured, but we’re living in the 21st century and many Indigenous people are looking towards the future. 

I would like to thank all those who contributed to this article. They are a breath of fresh air and joy to talk to, as well as an inspiration in this era of social distancing and profound reflections on systemic issues.

Happy reading!

Nahka Bers Journaliste Collaboratrice La Converse

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