News / Halifax

Navy should focus on reconciliation in dealing with members who disrupted Indigenous ceremony: Mi'kmaq activist

Rebecca Thomas says the Canadian Armed Forces should open up communication with Indigenous residents and not push the issue underground.

Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas delivers a poem during a noontime ceremony at City Hall in 2016.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Halifax poet laureate Rebecca Thomas delivers a poem during a noontime ceremony at City Hall in 2016.

A member of the local Mi’kmaq community wants the five men who interrupted a Canada Day anti-colonial ceremony at Cornwallis Park to be held accountable for their actions by learning why what they did was wrong.

In response to the Canadian Armed Forces’s decision to enforce consequences on the men but not provide details to the public Tuesday, Rebecca Thomas says they are handling the issue in a manner that is not centered around reconciliation.

“They’re going to push that sort of deviant behaviour underground, that’s not right,” said Thomas.

“It’s about having that line of communication. When you just scroll down your index of what was the offence, how bad was it and say, 'OK that results in consequence A, sub-section B’, then you’re not really learning anything. It’s important to have that exchange of story.

“It’s great that there’s going to be consequences but they’re not trying to make amends in Indigenously-centred or reconciliation-centered manner.”

Thomas said she wants the men involved to have more understanding, and gain more experience when it comes to people who are different than them - specifically, Indigenous people - to ensure something like this doesn’t occur again.

“They call themselves chauvinists. I don’t know who would proudly wear that label," she said.

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