Mother image or colonial oppressor?Examining Queen Victoria’s legacy after the Winnipeg statue collapsed
On Canada’s National Day, after the statue of Queen Victoria was overthrown on the legislative grounds of Manitoba, two professors in the province said that they wanted to confess the life and legacy of the British monarch.
Victoria ruled Britain from 1837 until her death in 1901. This period was marked by the unprecedented expansion of the British Empire, including continued expansion in what is now called Canada.
“Queen Victoria held the presidency in the cruelest and most expansive years in colonial history-when land was stolen the most, when things like the Indian Act happened [were] In place,” said Niigaan Sinclair, professor of indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba.
He said he could understand why on July 1, a small group of people participated in the “Every Child Is Important” walk-in memory of children forced to attend boarding school-toppled in the Manitoba Legislature Up the statue of Queen Victoria. The statue and its base were painted with red handprints, and the head was severed and thrown into the Assiniboine River.
A smaller statue depicting Queen Elizabeth on the Legislative Council grounds was also torn down.
As more and more people face the grim reality of the Canadian boarding school system and the country’s colonial heritage, anger and frustration may trigger this reaction.
The role of the British Empire in expelling indigenous peoples
“We have experienced 150 years of cruel, harsh, terrible violence, most of which still exist in the streets of Winnipeg in the form of policies and laws, so it’s no surprise that people will turn to this,” Sinclair Say.
“Let’s get some scope here. A statue that has been re-altered, edited or destroyed, whatever you want to call it, is nowhere near the scope that indigenous people continue to experience every day.”
Adele Perry, director of the Center for Human Rights Studies and a professor of history at the University of Michigan, said Queen Victoria and the British Empire played an “absolutely key role” in negotiations on treaties, boarding schools and other aspects in Canada. System of depriving indigenous people.
Although she has never visited Canada, Victoria ruled during the signing of five numbered treaties covering most of Manitoba, in which aboriginal leaders reached an agreement with the royal family.
These treaties are constitutionally recognized agreements that allow the Canadian government to actively pursue agriculture, settlements, transportation links, and resource development in exchange for payment or other commitments. Manitoba Treaty Committee says.
Many aborigines believe that treaties are sacred and viable treaties that allow the sharing of land and its gifts with newcomers and the creation of a common future.
Critics argue that the common future takes a back seat in progress, while indigenous peoples become an obstacle.
How Victoria redefines colonial rule
Perry said that unlike her grandfather, George III, Victoria was portrayed as “amiable”, trying to redefine colonial rule as a more beneficial relationship.
She said: “Her identity as a woman and a mother of a large family… is often used to somehow think that she is both a powerful monarch and a particularly maternal monarch.”
In fact, the Royal supervises boarding schools and church schools that distinguish children from the aboriginals in other parts of the British Empire. These schools are a model of Canadian boarding schools.
Sinclair said that Victoria’s legacy continues to exist through “the terrible policies of violence that we still see today”, referring to the government’s inaction when it comes to poverty, violence, and the lack of clean drinking water for indigenous people.
Royal historian and lecturer at the University of Toronto Caroline Harris said that Queen Victoria is one of the most obvious symbols of the relationship between Canada and the United Kingdom. She is represented in monuments, place names and even holidays across the country.
“She has become synonymous with her time in many ways, and her image is related to that period in the 19th century,” Harris said.
She said that the collapse of this statue may have nothing to do with Queen Victoria, but with Canadian colonialism and the history of the empire.
It’s time to consider a new monument
Manitoba historian Gordon Goldsborough stated that until recently, the statue of Queen Victoria-built in 1904, only three years after her death-was in Manitou The prominent position directly in front of the Pakistani legislature and the statues of four other European settlers.
Because of Victoria’s long reign, he said that he “has a lot of affection for her.”
“So I think this is why they erected a monument for her.”
Perry and Sinclair and others believe that people’s love has faded and it is time to consider building a monument that better reflects the history of Manitoba.
Sinclair saw the orange banner with the sign “We used to be children. Take them home” and the red handprint left on the statue platform as a memorial to the children who died in the boarding school.
“We are seeing signs of peaceful change in our community. I think this is worth celebrating.”