We have to stop assuming that anyone who is honoured with a statue or the naming of a school lived a perfect life.
When we build a monument to a historical figure like Sir John A. Macdonald, we exalt them to such a degree that it’s implied they were without flaws. No such person exists, past or present. Imperfections and mistakes should not disqualify anyone from being recognized. But when we honour our pioneers, we should make note of their mistakes and provide context. Tell the whole story, including their faults, rather than portray them as one-dimensional heroes.
More importantly, while it might feel like an accomplishment to take down Macdonald’s name, it’s not the best place to expend our time and energy today. Attacking symbols won’t change the brutality of the past, nor will it bring a single drop of clean water to a remote reserve. The best way for us to fix the mistakes of Macdonald and his contemporaries is not to erase their names but to solve the challenges indigenous people face today. Otherwise, one day, history will judge us just as we have our ancestors.