500 Years in the Making

Published June 6, 2021 by A.J.B. Johnston

The official unveiling of the new “Peace and Friendship Park” name took place yesterday in Halifax (June 21. 2021).

Many Mi’kmaw Elders and leaders were present for the event, as well as the Mayor, a city councilor or two, and two MPs (Jaime Battiste and Andy Fillmore).

These photos catch the moment Elder Daniel Paul and Mayor Mike Savage pulled the tarp off the panel, then them checking out the other side of the two-sided panel.

There were about 150 people in attendance, including several of us who had been on the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous Peoples. To rename Cornwallis Park as Peace and Friendship Park was one of our recommendations. The full report is available on the HRM website.

It strikes me that this action—and many more that are taking place across Canada—was roughly 500 years in the making. That’s how long it has taken the millions of descendants of the newcomers to the Americas to begin to understand and respect Indigenous perspectives and experiences. Of course, the process is not over. As is often said, reconciliation is a shared journey, not a destination.

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