Mi'kmaq activist applauds Sydney's Cornwallis Street being one step closer to a new name
SYDNEY, N.S. -- A Sydney, N.S., street name that was the subject to controversy recently is one step closer to being renamed.
Council met Tuesday to discuss new names for what was once known as Cornwallis Street.
While a new name hasn't been chosen yet, Mi'kmaq activists are already celebrating what they feel is righting an historical wrong.
The name plate was taken down by Cape Breton Regional Municipality staff nearly a month ago.
The street was named after Edward Cornwallis, who put a bounty on Mi'kmaq scalps in the 1700s, and whose name has evoked controversy in more recent years.
"I accomplished what I set out to do, which was the removal of his name," said Daniel Paul of Membertou First Nation.
Paul was the one who put pressure on the city to change the name of the street, but he says it wasn't before some public pushback.
"Why are you guys doing this all the time? They said. Cornwallis wasn't a bad guy, but the education has failed. They don't have an account of what he done to our people," Paul said.
CBRM staff canvassed the neighbourhood in question over the last few weeks, and councillors were presented with a list of names today brought forward by residents, which will be narrowed down in the coming days.
"Now that it's complete and circulated to council today, we will go back out to ask for feedback from those same residents on what their preferred names are to move forward with the actual renaming," said Michael Ruus, CBRM's director of planning.
Paul says he wasn't consulted on the name change, but says the municipality should choose a name that will be one of honour, and that everyone can agree on.
"Ray Paruch is outstanding, Campy Crawford is outstanding, what Donald Marshall Jr. had done for our people," Paul said. "Those are the three I recommended. Whatever they decide, I hope that all people are going to be happy with that name."
Ruus says there will be a two-week period for public consultation, and says the new name won't be decided upon for at least another month or so.
For Paul, it's a victory knowing Cornwallis will never again be a name celebrated in the CBRM.