Renaming Sir John A. Macdonald Hall won’t erase history, but acknowledge it – Queen’s Journal

by ahnationtalk on June 29, 202013 Views

June 29, 2020

Last week, the Faculty of Law launched consultations on the naming of the Sir John A. Macdonald Hall building. The Journal Editorial Board feels this is a step in the right direction, but that the University should ultimately change the building’s name.

Macdonald still plays an essential role in Canadian textbooks; removing his name from a building won’t change that or make us forget him. What it will do, however, is acknowledge the violence against Indigenous peoples he is responsible for.

If the University decides to keep the former prime minister’s name—in spite of the petition urging it to do otherwise—Queen’s will show that it prioritizes a history fueled by residential schools over the Indigenous peoples who suffered because of them.

There’s no reason not to remove Macdonald’s name. Besides living in Kingston, he has no ties to the law school or even the university. While some have suggested representing his “complicated legacy” instead—both the good and bad—this idea is subjective. For Indigenous peoples, his legacy isn’t complicated at all—it’s a legacy of genocide and abuse.

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