Coast guard ship to be renamed after two people who signed Friendship Treaty of 1752 between Mi'kmaq and N.S.
HALIFAX -- The name Edward Cornwallis is once again being removed from a place of honour -- this time, from a Canadian Coast Guard ship.
Some say this is another important step towards reconciliation, given Cornwallis' role in the treatment of the Mi'kmaq during the early history of our country.
Daniel Paul's phone rang on Easter weekend, he got the news he'd been waiting to hear.
"They called me up on Easter Sunday and told me," Paul said. "I knew it was gonna happen."
A representative from the federal fisheries minister's office told the Mi'kmaw elder that the CCGS Edward Cornwallis had a new name.
"The name I had recommended was accepted," Paul said.
The ship will now be called CCGS Kopit Hopson 1752 and will be named after the two men who signed the Friendship Treaty of 1752 between the Mi'kmaq and the colony of Nova Scotia.
It's not the first time the name Cornwallis has been removed. It follows other instances and the removal of a Cornwallis statue from a place of honour in a Halifax park.
"It's a great thing toward reconciliation," Paul said. "To stop honouring monsters from our past. And to be blunt, I don't know why he was ever honoured."
Mi'kmaw poet and author Rebecca Thomas says she was pleasantly surprised to hear the name Cornwallis was being erased.
As a Mi'kmaw person, to see somebody who caused such "tremendous harm in our communities" be honoured with a statue and having things named after them was hurtful to Thomas. And now, to see the name removed from these places of honour, Thomas says it is a gesture that she appreciates.
"To show that we as a people and our history is being respected," Thomas said.
Paul says going forward, he'd like to see other names be re-examined including ones "that are demeaning to certain races," he said.
Not just in Nova Scotia but in all of Canada.