Members of Regina arts community discuss future of John A. Macdonald statue
REGINA -- Members of the Regina arts community are discussing the future of the John. A Macdonald statue, providing reasons why they believe it’s time for it to be moved.
Local writer Kerry Bellegarde-Opoonechaw, who was joined on Thursday by other members of Regina's arts community, said the statue shouldn’t be destroyed.
Instead, the artists agreed it should be moved to a place like the RCMP Heritage Centre or grounds with a political focus, she said.
"If someone wanted it down, it would be down," Bellegarde-Opoonechaw said.
Many people have wanted the statue removed from Victoria Park because they say John A. Macdonald represents cultural genocide and colonialism.
His policies to create residential schools have caused lasting trauma for Indigenous peoples. The schools saw children removed from their families and stripped of their culture. Many were abused.
“We have been standing out here for weeks saying this is why he has to go down. This is why in the age of reconciliation," said Bellegarde-Opoonechaw.
She said she would also like museums in Canada to return ceremonial pieces, artifacts, regalia and artwork.
"This itself was an act of cultural genocide under the government of Macdonald,” she said.
During the meeting, artists also discussed other ideas that could replace the statue.
Bellegarde-Opoonechaw said the space needs to be healing.
Jérôme Melançon, an associate professor of francophone and intercultural studies at the University of Regina, said the discussion was important.
"This is a great opportunity to say we value co-existence, we value respect, we want to take part in reconciliation, so let's do something," he said.
The full panel discussion will be shared on the university's YouTube page in the coming days.