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Blackfoot Chiefs Oppose Premier’s Plan to Move Macdonald Statue to Alberta

Blackfoot Chiefs Oppose Premier’s Plan to Move Macdonald Statue to Alberta

Blackfoot Treaty No. 7 Territory – Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council Chiefs have joined the call with other First Nations opposing Premier Jason Kenney’s plans to relocate the destroyed statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister to the Alberta legislature, due to John A. MacDonald’s
destructive legacy of how he treated Indigenous peoples.

The statue was toppled in downtown Montreal at the end of a march calling for police to be defunded, one of multiple demonstrations held in cities across the country. Premier Kenney says if Montreal chooses not to reinstall a statue of John A. Macdonald that was knocked down by protesters on Saturday, he would have it installed on the grounds of Alberta’s Legislature.

A banner, hoisted as the statue was pulled down, said that Macdonald has “bloody hands” for disenfranchising the Asian community and for being one of the architects of the residential school system, the oppressive Indian Act and organizing the systematic starvation of Indigenous people to drive them onto reserves. MacDonald told the House of Commons in 1882, “I have
reason to believe that the agents as a whole…are doing all they can, by refusing food until the Indians are on the verge of starvation, to reduce the expense.”

Piikani Chief and BCTC Chair Stan Grier says there remains legitimate concerns raised by Canadian Indigenous communities about John A. Macdonald’s legacy and agrees with Chief Billy Morin, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six, who said that Treaty 6 chiefs do not support bringing the statue from Quebec to Treaty No.6 territory. “We agree with Chief Morin that history cannot be changed, but at the heart of this current emotional debate there is still tremendous impatience and frustration from those of us who experience systemic racism and aspire to advance our efforts for reconciliation in our Blackfoot Protocol Agreement with the
province and the work started by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Kenney’s rhetoric about mobs and thugs is a form of ‘coded, racist language’ which only serves to propagate dissent and hatred when we should be talking about truth and reconciliation. We the Blackfoot Confederacy stand in solidarity with Treaty 6 Chiefs during this time of reflection and oppose
moving a restored Macdonald statue to legislative gardens.”

Meantime, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said the city’s public art office will coordinate conservation of the statue, and the city will work with its heritage experts to decide on next steps.

For media inquiries, please contact Chief Stan Grier at 587.287.1100

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