Native Americans Protest Christopher Columbus’ Ship Replicas in Traverse City

Native Americans protested the arrival of two Christopher Columbus’ replica ships in Traverse City on Wednesday night.

Members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians surrounded the ships and stood by on land as the Nina and Pinta pulled in. Some sign-carrying protesters in kayaks went to out “meet” the ships at West Grand Traverse Bay.

Officials with the tribe said the ships are a painful reminder of the past.

Timothy Grey of Traverse City called the replicas “floating monuments of a 500-year holocaust” and added that “being in a time period now where monuments and symbolisms of things in the past are so contentious….allowing these ships to dock here is dangerous.”

“That’s not right, those things should not be here, they are terrifying, they symbolize nothing but genocide, nothing more”  – Timothy Grey.

The ships arrived to offer tours for what some consider a celebration of American history.

Columbus ship replicas arrive. Credit: The Columbus Foundation

The tall-ship replicas from Christopher Columbus‘ sailing fleet — built and sailed by The Columbus Foundation — will be docked at Clinch Park Marina for tours Aug. 18-22.

A company statement from The Columbus Foundation said it wasn’t looking to create “heroes or villains,” but built the ships to create historically accurate replicas.

While the Columbus Foundation emphasizes educating the public on ship design and shipbuilding as central to its core mission, it alludes to controversy surrounding Columbus on its website under a heading titled “Best Reasons To Visit the Niña and Pinta.”

“In most ways, the boats are no different from any of the various tourist activities offered throughout the area by representing the past in present replica physical form,” the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians wrote in a press release. “But in several critical ways, they are uniquely damaging, because the replica ships represent the narrative of “discovery” of the “new world” by European claimants and the devastating consequences of the “discovery” for indigenous people. The Nina and Pinta are symbols of a standard and system of thought that should be repugnant to the American ideals of equality and property rights for all people. Indeed, Traverse City, along with other local and state governments, now recognizes “Indigenous Peoples Day” on Columbus Day to support this paradigm shift.”

The Maritime Heritage Alliance says this is a good time for the tribe to share their story and says this is an important reminder to everyone that there are two sides to every story.

The tribe will be at Clinch Park Marina throughout the weekend passing out information and protesting.

FBI Raid Home of Women Who Claimed Responsibility for DAPL Sabotage


By Black Powder | RPM Staff

Friday morning federal agents raided a Des Moines Catholic Worker House where two women who’ve claimed responsibility for vandalizing the Dakota Access Pipeline were staying.

Last month, during a press conference outside the Iowa Utilities Board headquarters, Catholic workers and activists, Jessica Reznicek, 36 and Ruby Montoya, 27, revealed they secretly carried out multiple acts of sabotage including burning millions of dollars in construction equipment at pipeline locations across Iowa and other states. The two were then arrested for damaging a sign outside the Iowa Utilities Board building.

“Using tires and gasoline-soaked rags we burned multiple valve sites, their electrical units, as well as heavy equipment located on DAPL easements throughout Iowa,” said Montoya.

A burned hole was discovered at a valve site in Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports, about 30 law enforcement personnel, led by agents armed with guns who identified themselves as being from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, entered the catholic workers house just north of downtown Des Moines shortly after 6 a.m.

The agents left about 10:30 a.m. with boxes and sealed bags of property they had seized. There were no arrests or injuries during the raid.

Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya

Reznicek and Montoya were at the house on Friday.

According to KIWARadio.com, Alex Cohen, part of the “Mississippi Stand” group that sought to halt the pipeline’s extension from southeast Iowa across the river into Illinois, said the women told him that they were kept on the front porch of the house as the agents conducted the search inside.

Cohen says the women consider some of the materials seized during the raids to be protected by the attorney-client privilege and, now that it’s in the hands of federal authorities, it will hurt the chances at a fair trial.

Both women, who remain free on bond, say they were fighting a “private corporation” and “never threatened human life nor personal property” with their actions.

In the past, Reznicek has been arrested multiple times in various protests.

Montoya was most recently charged in a protest over a pipeline in Tennessee.

RELATED:

In 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline developed by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners. Months of demonstrations by thousands of opponents sought to halt construction of the four-state pipeline from North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.

Demonstrators Vow to Maintain Blockade For ‘As Long As It Takes’

Friday marked the second straight day of protesters blocking off one of the main roads into Caledonia.

“We’re still here, and we’re staying here as long as it takes,” said Doreen Silversmith, one of several protesters who spent the day at the Argyle Street blockade.

The site carries a lot of significance in the area, as it’s the same spot blocked for several weeks during the 2006 dispute over the Douglas Creek Estates.

The protesters are supporters of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, who are backing Kristine Hill.

Hill has been farming on the Burtch lands, a Brant County property that once housed a correctional facility, for the past three years.

Earlier this year, the province turned the land over to a corporation controlled by the Six Nations elected council – which has been working to evict Hill.

That case has been making its way through the court system. It was most recently in court Thursday, for a hearing on a contempt of court motion alleging Hill was on the property after being told to stay off it. That hearing was adjourned with no decision made.

The chiefs council says the Burtch lands were supposed to be given to them, instead of the elected council, as part of the resolution of the 2006 land dispute.

The protesters have demanded that the elected council stop pursuing legal action against Hill, that the Burtch lands are returned to the Haudenosaunee council, and that the provincial and federal governments return to negotiations with the Haudenosaunee council.

Through her lawyer, Hill told CTV News that she was not involved in the blockade and had nothing to do with its formation.

Police say they’re monitoring the situation closely.

“We’re working with the groups involved, and we’re just asking the public to remain calm and patient while we work through this,” OPP Const. Rod LeClair told reporters.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa

CTV Kitchener

[SOURCE]

Frustration Mounts as Land Dispute Continues in Oka, Que.

A sign is erected in Kanesatake, Que., where a housing project threatens a piece of land known as The Pines. (Steve Bonspiel/Facebook)

Residents of Mohawk community call on federal government to intervene in dispute over housing development

CBC News Posted: Aug 02, 2017

Frustration continues to mount in Kanesatake, Que., where residents of the Mohawk community are once again rallying to protect a stand of trees known as The Pines from encroaching development.

A protest was held on Tuesday near a housing project, Domaines des Collines d’Oka, about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The development is on land which is part of the Kanesatake Mohawks’ decades-old unresolved land claim.

The tension comes nearly three decades after an explosive and historic conflict erupted in the same area between the community, Sûreté du Québec and the Canadian Army.

Now, the Mohawks want Canada to intervene.

“The government and all the Crown actors need to act to stop the land fraud that’s been going on for 300 years,” said Ellen Gabriel, a resident of the community who become known to many as a spokesperson during the Oka Crisis in 1990.

“Stop the development that is depriving this generation and will deprive future generations from enjoying our lands as they become privatized and urbanized.”

Minister invited to community

Gabriel said that on July 15, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett agreed to visit the community, but no date for that visit was set.

According to a news release issued by the Mohawks involved in Tuesday’s protest, “Minister Bennett also stated that she did not know what ‘they could do.'”

CBC News asked Indigenous Affairs if the department would be intervening in the situation at Kanesetake, but has yet to receive an answer.

Mohawk leader Ellen Gabriel, far left, listens to Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon during a protest on July 12 at the site of the Collines D’Oka housing development. (Matt D’Amours/CBC)

On July 12, the developer said the project is already three-quarters finished and an additional 20 homes are planned for the disputed land.

“[The federal government] is talking about reconciliation, but this is not a good example of reconciliation as far as we’re concerned,” Gabriel said.

[SOURCE]

Jailed Indigenous Protesters Offered Release If They Agree To Stay Away From Muskrat Falls

Eldred Davis, left, signed an undertaking to stay away from Muskrat Falls site. Jim Learning and Marjorie Flowers are both under house arrest. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Majorie Flowers and Eldred Davis accept conditions; Jim Learning later accepts house arrest

CBC News Posted: Jul 31, 2017

Three Indigenous protesters jailed over a week ago at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s appeared in court today before a judge.

Majorie Flowers, Jim Learning and Eldred Davis have been jailed ever since they refused to promise a judge on July 21 they would stay away from the Muskrat Falls site.

On Monday, each protester appeared before a judge to determine whether they’ll remain in jail until their next appearance.

Davis said his time in HMP has been very difficult, and signed an undertaking promising he would comply and was released.

He’ll still be able to protest at Muskrat Falls in a location across the main gate that’s known as the “protest pad.”

Flowers’ lawyer asked she be given house arrest and the judge accepted the offer.

Learning, the eldest of the three at 79, initially refused to sign a similar undertaking.

However, later in court, Learning he did eventually agree to house arrest.

Labrador MP wants injunction dropped

In an interview with Labrador Morning on Monday,  Labrador MP Yvonne Jones said she wants Nalcor to drop the injunction preventing protesters from peacefully rallying outside of Muskrat Falls before more of them are jailed.

Majorie Flowers, Jim Learning and Eldred Davis appeared before a court Monday via video-link in St. John’s. (Submitted)

“My fear in all of this is that a lot of innocent people in Labrador who are firmly believing in standing up for their position on Muskrat Falls [are] going to be incarcerated and serve time as a result of it,” she said.

Jones believes there are other ways to discipline protesters who block access to the Muskrat Falls site or damage property than imprisoning them.

Labrador Liberal MP Yvonne Jones says that she would like to see Nalcor drop an injuction that has put several protesters behind bars in St. John’s. (CBC)

Peaceful protest should be a hallmark of our democracy, said Jones.

“It’s a sense of being free in a democratic country and being able to stand up for what you believe in and being able to have your message heard,” she said.

Supporters deliver petition demanding release

Prior to the court appearance today, over a dozen supporters of the imprisioned protestors marched to Confederation Building from Allandale Road to deliver a petition asking that Flowers, Learning and Davis be released.

Similar protests took place in Halifax and Happy Valley-Goose Bay as well.

[SOURCE]

 

 

 

Supporters Rally for Indigenous Man Ejected from Regina Canadian Tire Store

About 50 protesters gathered outside a Canadian Tire store in east Regina on Friday. (Audrey Neveu/SRC)

Protesters say they are often subjected to discrimination in stores

CBC News Posted: Jul 28, 2017

About 50 protesters gathered outside a Canadian Tire store in east Regina on Friday after an Indigenous elder was ejected from the store earlier in the week.

A video of the incident, which was widely shared on Facebook, shows a disagreement between the man, Kamao Cappo, and a store worker, which then became physical.

Cappo said he had been shopping for a chainsaw Wednesday when the employee accused him of stealing.

“When they ordered us out and I didn’t put my head down like a good little Indian and go along with it, this gentleman became ungentle and became very aggressive,” Cappo said to reporters at the protest.

The incident has struck a chord with some First Nations people, who say it’s the kind of discrimination they are often subjected to in stores.

Cappo said he felt like he was targetted as soon as he went into the store.

“I knew they were following us and I acted accordingly: I made sure there was no chance we could be seen as stealing something,” Cappo said.

Kamao Cappo showed up to take part in a protest outside a Canadian Tire store in Regina on July 28, 2017. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Search for an apology

On Thursday, Canadian Tire apologized for the incident and said it was in direct contact with Cappo.

But Cappo said as of Friday, they had still not apologized directly to him.

Cappo wants to see a race-relations training program for staff, as well as putting some Indigenous managers in charge. (Audrey Neveu/SRC)

The company said it is waiting for him to contact them, which didn’t sit well with protesters like Brandy Maxie.

​”Realistically it’s just a PR stunt to issue an apology through the media,” said Maxie of the White Bear First Nation.  “It’s not actually a genuine apology, and that means that we’re still not moving in the right direction in solving this.”

Cappo said he would speak to Canadian Tire if they called him, but doesn’t think he should be required to reach out to them.

He suggested a race-relations training program for staff, as well as putting some Indigenous managers in charge.

Cappo said he’s also dealing with some medical fallout from the incident, including chest pains, shortness of breath and headaches.

“After the adrenalin wore off, everything kicked in,” Cappo said.

The doctor put him on pain medication for pains in his back and knee and told him to rest for a few days.

He has also filed a complaint with police.

[SOURCE]

Company Denied Urgent Hearing to Remove Protesters from Parker Wetlands

Owners of the Parker Lands slated for development by Gem Equities have filed a lawsuit against protesters and an injunction demanding the group leave. Demonstrators say the land is contested Indigenous land and home to endangered wildlife. (Laura Glowacki/CBC)

Gem Equities sought injunction to remove the protesters accused of trespassing, delaying work

By Laura Glowacki, CBC News Posted: Jul 26, 2017

A Winnipeg company hoping to develop the Parker Lands was not granted an urgent hearing for an injunction motion filed on behalf of the owner to remove protesters camped out on the land.

The lawyer representing Andrew Marquess, owner of Gem Equities, told a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday that protesters on a piece of land slated for residential development in Fort Garry are fortifying the site and insulting the law.

“They are effectively giving the middle finger to everyone who pays their taxes and the rules of law,” said Kevin Toyne, lawyer for two numbered companies as well as Marquess.

Toyne argued that an urgent hearing is needed because the company is losing potential profits by not being able to proceed with development and there is a public safety risk.

The urgent hearing was not granted. Instead, the injunction motion will be heard on Nov 2. Defendants have until Aug. 25 to file their statement of defence.

Marquess’s company, Gem Equities, is hoping to build townhouses and apartments on the 24-hectare property known as the Parker Lands.

Protesters say the land is contested with roots in the Métis community and serves as an important habitat for birds and other animals.

Protest camp prevents further clearing

Protesters set up a small camp of about six tents on the Parker Lands last week after Gem Equities began clearing trees. The company says protesters are preventing mulching equipment from moving, making further clearing of trees on the site impossible.

A small group of protesters met outside the court on Wednesday morning.

“It’s important to me and I think a lot of people because first off, the land is beautiful and there’s a lot of animals there and people have been trying to protect it for a while,” said Maddy Jantz, one of the protesters. “But most importantly, it’s Métis land and the Métis folks were not consulted. They still haven’t been.”

Protesters have been seen holding an axe and wearing masks. Parker Lands advocate Jenna Vandal said the axe was being used to chop wood for a bonfire.

“No one would be allowed to walk in this courtroom with an axe,” Toyne told the judge. “An axe is a weapon.”

Marquess acquired the property in 2009 in a controversial land swap with the city.

Protesters set up camp last week when Gem Equities started clearing trees from the site. Earlier this year, the City of Winnipeg shredded trees as part of the next phase of the city’s rapid transit bus route.

The residential development Gem Equities envisions would be called Oak Grove. The plan includes high-density towers, medium-density low-rise buildings, low-density townhouses and single-family homes, arranged in concentric circles around a Southwest Transitway station plaza.

City council has not approved the area plan, rezonings or developments necessary for the company to move forward.

[SOURCE]

Mayor Bowman Asks Parker Wetlands Developer to Halt Clear Cutting Trees

Protesters walk on Friday through a clear-cut area that was once aspen forest in the Parker Lands. (Dereck Doherty/CBC)

Protesters camped out on land seek moratorium pending consultations

CBC News Posted: Jul 19, 2017

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has weighed in on the conflict between a group of protesters and a local developer over the removal of trees on the Parker Lands.

Last Friday, a group of about 10 people surrounded mulching machines used to remove the trees. The protesters told workers at the site that the land was contested by Métis and other indigenous groups.

Bowman said developer Andrew Marquess and his company, Gem Equities, had committed to not remove the trees before the City of Winnipeg approved the development plan.

“That appears not to have been the case, in reality, with what we saw with the clearing of land,” Bowman told reporters on Wednesday.

Despite the commitment, Bowman said the land is considered private and the developer has the right to remove the trees.

Bowman said he would like to see the developer halt cutting the trees until the city approves the development plan, which he said includes preserving a significant portion of the trees.

CBC has reached out to Marquess for comment.

The land is owned by Gem Equities, which acquired it in a controversial land swap with the city.

Gem has been removing the trees ahead of expected development along the new transit route. However, the company owned by developer Andrew Marquess has not yet submitted a plan to the city.

“Where I’m standing right now, all the trees have been shredded to match sticks and there’s no life here but lots of spiders and bugs and the occasional birds that come picking the bugs,” Jenna Vandal, who has been camped out on the land since Friday, said In an interview with CBC Manitoba`s Up to Speed.

Vandal said her group would like to preserve the remaining two-thirds of the forest. She said the Parker Lands are a significant part of Métis history.

“This used to be the site, or very close to the site, of the Métis community of Rooster Town,” she said. “It was a shanty town that was built due to the Metis being pushed out of Winnipeg as Winnipeg expanded after 1870.”

The village was demolished in 1960 and Grant Park Shopping Centre was built in its place, Vandal said.

“And so this forest has special significance for the Métis. You know, there have been structures that have been found here, and arrowheads and bison skinning tools.

Vandal said she wants a moratorium on clear cutting of the forest until they can get consultations with the Manitoba Métis Federation, Treaty Land Entitlement Commission of Manitoba and other non-profit indigenous groups in Winnipeg.

Protesters Camp Out to Save Parker Wetland Trees from Clearcut

Protestors, including Jenna Vandal, camp out on the Parker wetlands development site to try to stop it. BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Free Press · July 17, 2017

Protesters blocking a developer from cutting a Winnipeg forest have pledged to face criminal charges if necessary to save the trees.

“We’re going to maintain this until we’re either arrested or a moratorium is placed on clearcutting the trees,” said Jenna Vandal, an organizer of the demonstrators that set up camp on Friday.

Members of the Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee rallied at the 42-acre site in Fort Garry when they noticed a large swath of trees had been cut to make way for a residential real estate development by Gem Equities Inc., the land’s legal landowners. As of Monday afternoon, two tents were pitched in the path of tree-clearing machinery, including a mulcher and a brush cutter. About 20 protesters have been at the wetlands each day.

In 2009, Gem acquired the land in what many regard as a controversial landswap with the City of Winnipeg. Gem’s Andrew Marquess told the Free Press in June there weren’t plans to remove trees on the wetlands until the company reached an agreement with the City on potential naturalized, protected greenspace locations. Last week, Marquess maintained Gem has the right, as private land owner, to clear trees from the site, although “clearing trees is not beginning development of the site.”

Marquess added development wouldn’t begin until the city approved the development plan.

Before demonstrations began, Marquess said he didn’t know exactly the area of the trees which had been cleared. One site worker confirmed 14.8 acres — over one third of the total area of the wetlands — had been cleared so far.

On the deforested plot, where thousands of trees once stood, only eight remain, surrounded by scattered bushes, mulch and a vast expanse of wood chips barely thicker than toothpicks. The strong scent of the wetlands was even more prominent than usual, as the wood dried out under the intense July sun.

“There’s silence. No sounds. No life,” as protester Laura Pearson put it.

The siteworker couldn’t say why the eight trees were left, though Dirk Hoeppner, the president of the Green Party of Manitoba, speculates the machinery there wasn’t strong enough to take down the trees, which are thicker than ones already cut down.

Hoeppner noted the area’s diverse flora and fauna including aspen trees, whitetail deer, foxes, owls and several species of plants not commonly found in Winnipeg.

Last week, Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee co-chair Cal Dueck told the Free Press the nest of a Cooper’s hawk was destroyed, however he wrote in a later email that his information was factually inaccurate; the nest was still intact.

“I apologize for any possible inference of neglect or misconduct on the part of the developer, Mr. Marques (sic), in relation to the hawks,” Dueck wrote. Dueck mentioned the destruction seriously impacted other insects, animals and plants in the area.

“The false statement on behalf of Mr. Dueck was purposeful for his group as it accused me of doing something which never occurred,” Marquess wrote to the Free Press in response.

Aside from the site’s ecological significance, Vandal, who is Métis, says the site is close to the former site of Rooster Town, a Métis settlement which disappeared as Winnipeg developed in the mid-20th century.

Vandal, the daughter of St. Boniface-St. Vital MP Dan Vandal, believes before any further work occurs on the site, First Nations and Métis people must be consulted.

“I will defend this land that cared for my Indigenous ancestors,” Vandal wrote in a Facebook post.

Vandal says she’s contacted the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) and will be reaching out to the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee of Manitoba (TLEC) as the protest continues.

“This is a contentious and sensitive area when it comes to Indigenous rights,” she added. Hoeppner believes there is legal precedent to fight the development, and the group is currently consulting with lawyers to prevent further destruction. However, a spokesman for the province’s department of sustainable development said there were “no permissions” required from that office for bulldozing.

Hoeppner and Vandal say police respectfully visited the site each day since protests began. The site worker, who wouldn’t give his name, confirmed crews had called police to remove the group for trespassing. He also asked a reporter to leave the wetlands Thursday.

“We are frustrated with the apparent inability of the Winnipeg Police Service to enforce private land owner property rights,” he said. “We have contacted the police numerous times since Friday when this began and asked them to remove the trespassers from private property, and they are doing nothing.”

Vandal and other demonstrators shared a statement Thursday with a list of provisional demands, namely city consultation with the MMF, TLEC and other Indigenous groups, along with an invitation for others to join the protest or bring supplies.

Since the protestors set up camp Friday morning, no more work has been done on the site.

ben.waldman@freepress.mb.ca

[SOURCE]

‘Offensive and Disgraceful’: Protesters Cheer as City of Halifax Shrouds Cornwallis Statue

Protesters who pledged to remove a statue of Halifax’s controversial founder Saturday say they came away victorious after the monument to Edward Cornwallis was covered. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Mayor Mike Savage says veil is a temporary measure, will be removed after demonstration

By Frances Willick, CBC News Posted: Jul 15, 2017

Municipal crews draped a black cloth over a statue of Edward Cornwallis in a downtown Halifax park Saturday as protesters gathered with a plan to remove the statue.

After a city truck arrived, crews informed the gathering they would shroud the monument as a sign of good faith.

Cheers went up from the crowd as the monument disappeared under its new veil. Some demonstrators chanted and raised their fists in the air as others drummed and sang. Afterward, people joined hands and slowly circled the statue.

CBC News reporters on the scene estimated there were about 150 people at the gathering.

Cornwallis, a governor of Nova Scotia, was a military officer who founded Halifax for the British in 1749. The same year, he issued the so-called scalping proclamation, offering a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi’kmaq person.

Veil is temporary, says mayor

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage attended the demonstration.

He said the veil is a temporary measure and that it will be removed sometime after the demonstration, though he did not give details on the time frame.

“We said we’d leave it up for the [Aug. 7 Natal Day] ceremony,” he said. “I don’t know that there’s a rush to take it down, but it will come down.”

Demonstrators gather in front of a veiled statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax on July 15, 2017. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Organizers had hoped the plan to remove the statue would prompt the city to pledge to do so itself by Natal Day. But Savage said in a statement earlier this week that a process is already in place to discuss the issue and that the removal of the statue on Saturday could “set back progress.”

Committee to begin work in September

Halifax regional council voted 15-1 in April to establish a panel to make recommendations on how to grapple with municipal infrastructure named after Cornwallis.

Savage said on Saturday that the committee members, which will include Mi’kmaq people, will likely be in place by September. A timeline for recommendations and decisions will be determined by the committee, he said.

Savage stopped short of saying he wants the statue to come down, but he called it an “obvious impediment” to reconciliation.

Protesters plan to remove this statue of Edward Cornwallis in downtown Halifax on Saturday. (The Canadian Press)

“I want to resolve the situation,” he said. “I don’t think the status quo is good.”

Indigenous activists said Saturday they will continue negotiating with the city to peacefully remove the statue.

‘It brings back pain’

Patrick LeBlanc, an Indigenous man from Digby, N.S., said the statue is a painful reminder of the oppression of First Nations people in Canada.

“This gentleman here represented a genocide for our people,” LeBlanc said. “And to see it every day, it just brings back memories and it also brings back pain.”

LeBlanc said simply covering the statue isn’t enough. He would like to see it replaced with something that will give restitution and healing.

A crowd of about 150 people gathered at the statue of Edward Cornwallis in Halifax’s Cornwallis Park on July 15, 2017. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Protester Daniel Arnot said removing the statue shows support for reconciliation with Indigenous people.

“I think some people should open their eyes and listen to people who are just making a humble request that this offensive and disgraceful homage to colonial history is removed,” he said.

A small number of people who attended the event appeared to hold dissenting opinions of Cornwallis, as at least one man began shouting at the protesters and another showed up with a U.K. flag.

Police presence

Halifax Regional Police said Saturday morning that officers would be on the scene to ensure a peaceful demonstration can take place.

But police “will respond to any criminal acts that take place,” a spokesperson for the police force said in an emailed  statement.

It’s unclear how activists planned to take the statue down. It stands on a stone pedestal about two and a half to three metres off the ground.

Site of protests in past

The statue has been altered by protesters in the past. In 2016, someone splattered red paint across the statue and the pedestal.

The site was also the scene of an Indigenous protest on Canada Day in which a woman shaved her head and placed her two braids at the foot of the statue. The woman said she wanted her action to bring attention to issues including Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people and the environment.

At that protest, members of the group Proud Boys showed up and told the gathering that they were “disrespecting General Cornwallis.”

[SOURCE]