Council of Canadians supports renaming of the Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst historic site near Charlottetown

Port-la-Joye
By MTLskyline at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Council of Canadians has asked Catherine McKenna to remove the name of Amherst from an historic site near Charlottetown.

Council of Canadians vice-chairperson Leo Broderick writes, "The Council of Canadians is asking you, as Minster responsible for Parks Canada, to support the request of Dr. John Joe Sark, Keptin of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council (PEI) to remove the name of Amherst from an historic site near Charlottetown and replace it with a more appropriate name in keeping with what the Mi’kmaq people of Prince Edward Island desire. ...We therefore ask you Minister McKenna to show respect and sensitivity to the Mi’kmaq people by honouring the request of Keptin John Joe Sark and rename this historic site in consultation with Keptin Sark and the Mi’kmaq nation."

The Canadian Press has reported, "It’s a 'grave insult' that a national park in Prince Edward Island still bears the name of a military general who wanted to kill aboriginal people with smallpox, says a Mi’kmaq leader. John Joe Sark, a member of the Mi’kmaq Nation traditional government, says the name of 18th-century British military commander Jeffery Amherst should be removed from the Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst historic site near Charlottetown. ...'He may be a hero to the colonial government or the Settlers’ Society or whatever, but he’s no hero to the Mi’kmaq people.'"

On Jan. 29, Sark wrote the minister asking her to change the park's name.

As of Feb. 8, McKenna's office had not responded to Sark. But CBC reports, "[On Feb. 8], Parks Canada responded in an email to CBC News outlining the process for such a change while not committing to it. 'Should there be a formal request from the public to change the name of the National Historic Site, Parks Canada would engage with the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada for its recommendation', said Barb MacDonald, Parks Canada's external relations manager. ...It's not clear whether Sark's letter to the minister constitutes a 'formal request' as laid out in the email."

CTV has previously reported, "Author and Mi'kmaq advocate Daniel N. Paul said he [also] supports Sark's efforts. 'Let's put it this way, in the future I don't think there should ever be anything named after people who committed what can be described as crimes against humanity. I don't see why this should be any exception.'"

To read Broderick's letter, please click here.

If you would like to send a similar message to the minister, you can email her at Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca.