January 1, 2003 Mi'kmaq/Maliseet Nations News To stop the practice of First Nation Peoples inadvertently honouring colonial monsters we must learn our post-European invasion histories
To stop the practice of First Nation Peoples inadvertently honouring colonial monsters we must learn our post-European invasion histories
The following is something you probably will never see: a Jewish person using a room, or a building, or a school, or anything else, named to honour the memory of Adolph Hitler. The reason for this is simple - Jews know that he tried to exterminate them - murdering millions in the process. Knowing this, they appreciate that it would be demeaning to the memories of their slaughtered brothers and sisters for them to honour Hitler by using such facilities.
In the case of First Nations Peoples, it's a different story; we donít know our histories. This, of course, is not our fault, itís the fault of the invaders, whoíve managed to keep most of the horrors perpetuated in the Americas by their ancestors against ours under wraps. In fact, to this end, theyíve used scurrilous propaganda so effectively to defame our ancestors that we, their children, the victims, appear to be the children of monsters.
Down the road this will change! In time the truth will prevail because we are beginning to acquire the expertise needed to uncover the abundant evidence left behind by colonial authorities, which effectively refute the heinous propaganda that depicts our ancestors as barbaric heathen savages.
However, in the meantime, there is a practice among our people that we must curb by all means possible. Which is, because of the lack of knowledge of our histories, the use by them of facilities named in honour of the memory of colonial officials guilty of committing unspeakable genocidal crimes against our ancestors.
For an example of this usage, lets go to the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the powers that be have named a large first floor room in honour of colonial British Governor Edward Cornwallis. As all Miíkmaq and Maliseet should know, but don't, itís named in honour of a man who made a barbaric attempt to exterminate the Miíkmaq and any Maliseet allied with them.
THE DETAILS OF THE CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY COMMITTED BY CORNWALLIS:
Governor Cornwallis, as a means to reach his hideous goal of exterminating the Mi'kmaq, with the approval of his council, on October 1, 1749, issued a proclamation offering a bounty of 10£ (Pounds, British currency) for Miíkmaq scalps - including women and children. (Such is a logical move when you try to exterminate a race of People because, as Hitler did with Europeíís Jews, itís a must that you kill off women and children.) Just in case anyone believes that he and his councillors only enacted it for use as a threat to win Miíkmaq surrender, this information should set them straight. On June 21, 1750, probably because scalps were not coming in fast enough to see him realize his goal, he issued a new proclamation to advise European colonists that the bounty had been increased to fifty pounds per scalp.
Back to the World Trade Center. Many times, over the past few years, Iíve walked past the Cornwallis Room during events that were held there, that included Mi'kmaq participation, and seen many Miíkmaq, including Chiefs and other leaders, using the room and celebrating within it. Such behavior to the knowledgeable white man must seem strange and incredulous to say the least. What other race of persecuted people would willingly use a facility named in honour of the man who tried to exterminate them? Not one that I know of.
In view of the before mentioned, itís most important that we learn our history. Then, as sensible people, who are respectful of the memories of our persecuted and slaughtered ancestors, we would never again be caught in rooms, buildings, or anything else, named in honour of individuals who were responsible for their persecution and slaughter.
If we, the First Nations Peoples of the Americas, want to regain dignity and self-respect, we must declare such places as the World Trade and Convention Centre off limits until rooms named in honour of monsters such as Cornwallis are renamed!
Daniel N. Paul