Name change a good place to start

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Re: “A slip­pery slope,” (The Guardian, July 18): I think that Earle Lockerby is on the wrong side of his­tory on this one. In ad­di­tion, the ar­gu­ment that if you change the his­tor­i­cally sus­pect name of one fort, you have to change them all is pretty lame. No one is sug­gest­ing re­mov­ing Jef­frey Amherst from ev­ery­thing or re­vis­ing his­tory.

What many are sug­gest­ing, how­ever, is that we try to make things right with our First Peo­ples. And since Lockerby ad­mits that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Indigenous Peo­ples is long over­due, he shouldn’t have any prob­lem with what is con­tained in the 2015 Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion’s fi­nal re­port. It points out that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is about “estab­lish­ing and main­tain­ing re­spect­ful re­la­tion­ships.” Clearly, re­tain­ing the name Fort Amherst is dis­re­spect­ful to the Mi’kmaq.

The re­port also goes on to state plainly: “A crit­i­cal part of this process [of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion] in­volves re­pair­ing dam­aged trust by mak­ing apolo­gies, pro­vid­ing in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive repa­ra­tions, and fol­low­ing through with con­crete ac­tions that demon­strate real so­ci­etal change.” Surely, re­mov­ing Amherst’s name is a good place for change to start.

Peter McKenna, pro­fes­sor and chair, depart­ment of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence, Univer­sity of Prince Ed­ward Is­land

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