Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says after beginning a process of truth and reconciliation last year with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald from the front doors of city hall will be removed on Saturday.
The mayor says in a blog post that the decision, made with the First Nations Chief and Councils and the “City Family”, was so “the family members and other Indigenous people do not need to walk past this painful reminder of colonial violence each time they enter the doors of their municipal government.”
The “City Family” is apart of the municipality’s Witness Reconciliation Program and consists of members from the city and the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
The decision will be voted on tomorrow by city council, who also established the City Family. Mayor Helps expects the decision to pass.
“One of the questions I am being asked is “are we erasing history”… we are doing the opposite, we are making history very clear here through this process,” said Helps.
John A. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada from 1867-1873, and the blog post from Helps notes that he “was a key architect of the Indian Residential School system” and that ” the effects of which are well known to be still felt today both by school attendees and their children and grandchildren.”
The City Family and Chiefs and Councils of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations have worked together in crafting the language that will go on a plaque to replace the statue.
The statue will be stored in a city facility until a new way to recontextualize it is determined.
More to come