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Former Cornwallis Street renamed after Mi’kmaq activist, residential school survivor

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Halifax officially has a new street name.

The former Cornwallis Street is now Nora Bernard Street, named after the Mi’kmaq activist and residential school survivor.

“It’s just incredible, it means so much,” says her daughter, Natalie MacLeod Gloade.

Bernard led the largest class action lawsuit in Canadian history in support of 79,000 other survivors. The Canadian government settled for nearly $5 billion dollars.

“I’m so proud and honoured that Halifax has stepped up to the plate and making history. This is history, this is a historical event,” says MacLeod Gloade.

City officials previously set up a task force to look at steps toward reconciliation with First Nations communities.

The renaming of Cornwallis Street was on the list. Edward Cornwallis was the controversial governor of Nova Scotia.

“If we were really going to stick to our words about reconciliation, we need to listen to what is being said. The other piece of it is it feels really great when we can acknowledge folks who have really made a difference,” councillor Lindell Smith says.

“I thought it was important that we had a more public facing process because they had a recommendation for the street name, but I thought it would be important to really garner community support.”

Smith says the task force received 3,000 suggestions. Nora Bernard Street received the vast majority of the votes.

“It’s a positive step forward,” says Chief Bob Gloade of the Millbrook First Nation. “It’s a way to remember and remember Nora Bernard in the hard work she’s done. “

Gloade says Bernard’s community of Millbrook First Nation will take another step toward immortalizing Bernard. Plans are underway to erect a statue and to rename a community hall in her honour. 

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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