Recognizing that the Sir John A. Macdonald statue represents a harmful legacy to members of our community, the City of Regina has sought guidance on how the statue can support a more complete story of the impact of Macdonald’s policies upon Indigenous and other ethno-cultural communities and on increasing community understanding of Regina’s diverse histories. These conversations have included First Nations and Métis Knowledge Keepers, as well as Indigenous artists, curators and scholars.
Reviewing the Statue
The City’s Social & Cultural Development Branch has been leading the review since June 2020 with support from Reconciliation Regina and in alignment with the Civic Art and Cultural Collections Policy. Section 2 of the Civic Art and Cultural Collections Policy provides specific guidance on engaging with affected communities regarding the interpretation and contextualization of public art where legacies reflect issues of colonialism and cultural restitution.
The purpose of the review is to understand how the statue is perceived, to increase our understanding of the diverse histories and experiences of Regina community members for whom the statue represents a harmful legacy, and to determine the most appropriate treatment of the statue in response to this harmful legacy. Options include adding contextual information or artwork, re-interpretation, relocation or removal from Victoria Park.
On March 31, 2021, City Council approved a recommendation to relocate the statue into storage while Administration proceeds with broader public engagement and working with partners to identify an appropriate future location and contextualization.
For the first phase of consultation, City Administration met with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and artists, and academics, as well as leadership of local cultural institutions to better understand the nature of the harmful legacy represented by the Macdonald statue and the City’s role as a public institution in telling a complete story.
- The statue creates barriers for some Regina residents to visit and participate in events in Victoria Park and Pat Fiacco Plaza
- There is opportunity to increase understanding of Macdonald’s legacy among Regina residents.
- Presence or removal of the statue does not on its own increase or decrease understanding of history. Additional educational efforts and programming are required.
- Non-Indigenous organization and institutions, including the City, must continue to take a leadership role in truth-telling.
To support broader education and understanding, the City has launched a space for online conversation on Be Heard Regina. Residents are encouraged to join the community dialogue around Macdonald’s legacy. Through hearing our neighbours’ stories and lived experiences, we can all learn a more complete history of Regina and its people.