In the United States, the United Kingdom, and around the world, protestors are defacing and toppling statues of figures whose legacy of deeds include oppression, violence, and death. While these monuments purport to celebrate these individuals for other reasons, the mere presence of such tributes speaks to a particular construction and understanding of history.
In Canada, John A. Macdonald has been the focus of those who point out that his role in Indigenous genocide renders him unfit for monumental veneration. Those who come to the first prime minister’s defence argue we shouldn’t “erase” history. But whose history would that be? And, moreover, as we ask in this episode: Can history be erased?
On this episode of Open to Debate, David Moscrop talks with Jim Daschuk, historian, assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies at the University of Regina, and author of Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life.