Controversy over the statue of Halifax's founder, Edward Cornwallis, particularly criticism by the Mi'kmaq community, led to the establishment of the Task Force on Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History.
Three facets of historical interpretation are determinant points in the Cornwallis and Halifax debate. Does the weight of evidence indict Cornwallis? Is settler colonialism, a politicized paradigm of the left, an appropriate lens for viewing past and present? Can the various Treaties of Peace and Friendship offer instead a novel way forward?
The periodic reassessment of history is part of the continuing conversation in historical scholarship which is always underway. What is problematic are arguments based simply on assertion; historical offerings that are selective, either by way of inclusion or exclusion; and historiographic paradigms with politicized structures that lead to an unbalanced representation of the past (and, by implication, the present). Sound judgement seeks an equitable balance and is placed within the quest for truthful analysis.
In our own submission to the Task Force, we review the historical record, correcting some of the misinformation which is commonly asserted, and pointing the way to common ground by returning to the Treaties of Peace and Friendship.