Adam Bramburger’s file photo on page 21 of the Picton Gazette on November 12th of the unveiling of the Holding Court statue on July 1, 2015 is a reminder to all that Sir John A Macdonald is a hero of the white population. The picture does not capture one person of colour nor of Indigenous descent in the crowd at the unveiling.
As an Indigenous person who am I to even suggest that this statue be removed?
If Holding Court is taken down and hidden from public viewing then I could never walk by and point out that this is one of the men who caused so much pain among the ancestors of the Indigenous population of Canada. Taking his statue down takes away a conversation starting point of past racism in Canada.
The Colonial population of this country have always liked to honour their heroes with statues. That is fine with me, they pay for them, it is their history. There are still ten statues of Sir John A still standing and thirteen schools named after him. How many monuments are there for the thousands of dead Indigenous children that are buried in the soil of this country? None.
What if enough money was raised to subscribe someone to sculpt a monument of an Indigenous child sitting on a stool as a nun cuts this child’s hair and placed it beside Holding Court? That would be history also, would it not?
I know it would be a stark reminder of what MacDonald’s government policies created in the 1800’s and thus carried into the 1900’s. Would Picton allow a monument like this to sit beside the Holding Court statue?
MacDonald’s statues should not be taken down. Doing that is not wiping out history, all it is doing is hiding history because the people who revere him, are too embarrassed to keep him on display and having to defend him. Keeping him on display in Picton and accepting that he made racist policies and owning up to his mistakes will heal many more pains than hiding him in storage.
If you are a Canadian of any stripe and you only read one book in your life you must read the award-winning book Clearing the Plains by James Daschuk. Ironically enough it won the Sir John A Macdonald Prize for literary excellence.
Keep the statue Picton. Without it there is no discussion about Canada and how it became a country. Taking MacDonald’s statues down also takes away any discussion of the pain the he caused to the Native population to build this country. He’s not my hero, but his policies resulted in a cause and effect among the Indigenous, Metis and Inuit people of Canada. We all need to be reminded of this.
No statues, no reminders.