MEMBERTOU FIRST NATION, N.S. -- A Mi'kmaq elder who has long led the effort to remove public references to the British general who founded colonial Halifax has received what he calls a piece of hate mail.

It's happened just days after street signs bearing the name of Edward Cornwallis were taken down in Sydney, N.S.

Chief Terry Paul said reading the letter addressed to his 80-year-old uncle, who lives in the Halifax area, made him disappointed -- and angry.

The letter contains racist remarks aimed at Indigenous people in Nova Scotia.

"When I saw that, I was just horrified," said Chief Terry Paul of Membertou First Nation. "It was sickening. It was addressed to my uncle, Danny Paul, the author of 'We Were Not the Savages.'"

The letter comes as a response to a call to have street signs with the name Cornwallis removed in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The subject line contained the title "white supremacist hate mail."

Terry Paul says it's the kind of racism Indigenous people in Nova Scotia face every day.

"This person is just outright racist in what he's saying," said Chief Terry Paul. "It's a cowardly act. If you really stand by what you're saying, show your face."

Daniel Paul was one of many people behind the removal of the Edward Cornwallis statue in Halifax.

Chief Paul says, with the removal of signs in Sydney, it's a chance again for some people to spew hate.

"We were just degraded down to savages, and that we didn't accomplish anything, and we should've stayed in the teepees," Chief Paul said. "We didn't even live in teepees, that was a western term. The person didn't even know what he was talking about."

Chief Paul says he is speaking out because he wanted to make the letter public, and wants people to be held accountable for what they say.

"I want to make damn sure that we expose people like that," he said.

Chief Paul says the majority of Nova Scotians are good people, but says it's the handful of others that still need to be educated.