Dalhousie University looks to replace ceremonial mace featuring settler imagery
A ceremonial mace is shown during convocation at Dalhousie University in Halifax in this May 28, 2013 handout photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Dalhousie University, Danny Abriel)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 5:13PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, March 18, 2017 7:00PM ADT
HALIFAX -- Dalhousie University has put out an open call for designs to replace a ceremonial mace that features symbols of European colonization.
A university official who sits on a committee that is trying to find a new ceremonial object says the mace is "not historically complete" because it does not reflect the school's Mi'kmaq and African-Nova Scotian communities.
"It's really important for us to have a symbol reflective of everybody," said Lindsay Dowling. "We've changed greatly since 1950, so it really provides us with an opportunity to look at ... our evolving values and find a symbol that reflects that."
Dowling says the oak-carved mace has been used at convocation ceremonies for more than 65 years and is a symbol of authority that traces its roots to England.
The designer of the 1.4-metre-long mace wrote in a 1950 edition of the Dalhousie Review that it includes symbols of Christianity, European settlers and "the flowering of civilization."
A rose, thistle, shamrock and fleur-de-lis -- representing England, Ireland, Scotland and France, respectively -- are meant to depict the "the major racial groups of our country," Richard Lorraine de Chasteney Holbourne Saunders wrote.
Dowling says a committee composed of students, staff and interest groups will review submissions for a new ceremonial object that better reflects the university's values of inclusiveness and respect.
The call for submissions closes on April 10 and a jury will narrow it down to five finalists, she says.
The new design will be unveiled at a university event kicking off Dalhousie's 200th anniversary.