The CBC is reporting that “Native activist John Joe Sark wants to change Founders’ Hall to reflect the Island’s Mi’kmaq heritage.” The response from the Capital Commission, through their Executive Director, is:
“Unfortunately, history is such that Aboriginal people were not invited to the table,” she says. “Founders’ Hall acknowledges that, acknowledges the fact that they were not invited, nor were women invited. You know, that’s history and we can’t rewrite history.”
While I agreed with the substance of what Green says, it does beg the question: why have we built a monument that pays homage to a racist, sexist event in our history?
Indeed perhaps we would learn more about ourselves as a society if Founders’ Hall abandoned its rather pointless elevation of the “Fathers” (do rich white men from two centuries ago really need more deification?) and rather concentrated exclusively on that selfsame exclusion of women and aboriginals from the process. I think that the social, cultural, and political forces that allowed for that exclusion are far more worthy of examination, discussion, and public display.
Of course that wouldn’t “sell well” to the bus tours.
And that’s the problem when tourism, rather than building a civil society, is the guiding force behind institutions like this.