Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History

On October 30, 2018 Regional Council approved the formation of a new committee to reflect an equal partnership between Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and the Mi'kmaw community, as represented by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs (ANSMC). This Committee was tasked to advise Regional Council on the following:

(a) Proposed changes to the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets, including Cornwallis Park and Cornwallis Street. 

(b) Recognizing and commemorating the indigenous history in the lands now known as Halifax Regional Municipality.

You can find meeting details online. You can also search for records of board and committee meetings.

Current Status of the Task Force's Report

The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History completed its report, with its recommendations, at the end of April 2020. A staff report on these recommendations was presented to Regional Council on July 21, 2020.

Cornwallis Street renaming project

The renaming of Cornwallis Street is one of the recommendations of the Task Force, and a step towards reconciliation. The renaming project is currently underway. The first round of public engagement – a survey for all residents to submit new name suggestions – was open from October 4 to November 12, 2021. 

All received new street name suggestions will be reviewed and evaluated based on appropriateness, cultural significance, diversity and originality. From this review, any commemorate name suggestions will go through the Asset Naming Application Process. Once that process is complete a short list of potential new street names will be created. 

The second round of public engagement is expected to take place in 2022, and will seek feedback on resident’s preferred street name from the short list via a second survey. The final step will include a staff report brought to Regional Council for deliberation and a decision.

Further updates on the Cornwallis Street renaming project will be shared on this web page as they become available. 
 

Public Engagement

Phase Two: October 2019

The Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History hosted two public engagements in October to seek public input.

Residents were invited to join facilitated conversation circles to discuss how the Halifax Regional Municipality should recognize and commemorate Indigenous history. 

As part of this important discussion, participants were also asked what we should take into consideration when commemorating history in general.

Phase One: June 2019

The Task Force hosted four public engagement sessions in June to seek public input. Residents were invited to present their recommendations on the following:

  • How best to recognize and commemorate Indigenous history, in the area now known as “Kjipuktuk” or “the Halifax Regional Municipality”, as part of a more complete history of the area
  • The commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets including the statue, park and street 

The Task Force members would like to thank all participants and communities for their participation in the June and October public engagement sessions. Anyone who wishes to share their recommendations in writing at any time, are encouraged to email submissions to clerks@halifax.ca.

Background

In October 2017, Halifax Regional Council approved the creation of a Special Advisory Committee on Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History was established, with the mandate of providing advice to Regional Council regarding the commemoration of Edward Cornwallis on municipal assets (e.g. park, statue, street) and on the recognition and commemoration of indigenous history in the lands now known as the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Council approved a budget for the committee of $50,000, for research, public engagement, and other required supports, and a stipend for each committee member of $150 per meeting, up to $2,100. There was no reporting period established for the committee.

The names of the 10 members, five proposed by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and five by staff from the Halifax Regional Municipality, were presented on July 17, 2018 to Regional Council, which ratified the appointment of proposed members.

In August 2018, the co-chairs requested a change in the governance structure of the committee. This motion was approved by Regional Council in October 2018, following similar motions passed by the committee, then by the Assembly.

In December 2018, an administrative approach to the new governance structure was ratified between the Halifax Regional Municipality and Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative) on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the Mi’kmaw of Nova Scotia. 

Originally established as a Special Advisory Committee to Regional Council, the new governance structure better reflects the equal partnership between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, and the committee now has the ability to set its own processes and procedures.

The mandate and membership of the committee remain the same. However, the original budget of $50,000 will now be funded equally by the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Assembly, and the administrative support for the committee will also be equally shared.

The new committee has also been asked to complete its work within two years.

A motion was passed at the first meeting of the newly constituted committee on Jan. 21, 2019 for the Special Advisory Committee to be renamed the Task Force on the Commemoration of Edward Cornwallis and the Recognition and Commemoration of Indigenous History. 

For more information on the work of the Commemoration Task Force you can explore this section of Halifax.ca or visit the Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office (Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative) website at

Membership

  • Yvonne Atwell
  • Jaime Battiste
  • Sheila Fougere
  • Pam Glode-Desrochers
  • Chief Roderick Googoo (co-chair)
  • Dr. John Johnston
  • Dr. Monica MacDonald (co-chair)
  • Heather McNeill, Q.C.
  • Mi’kmaq Elder Dr. Dan Paul
  • John Reid

You can learn more about the Task Force Members here: Task Force Member Biographies [PDF]