So-called “Canada Day” was marked by widespread Indigenous-led protest against Canada’s long history of colonization and murder of Indigenous people.
Two members of the Royal Canadian Navy were part of a group of five men who disrupted a Mi’kmaq ceremony that was honoring indigenous people murdered by the colonizing Canadian state, marching in and pronouncing “this is a British colony.”
“It was so frustrating. We’re trying to help, heal, and mourn, and here you have a group of young white men interrupting a group of indigenous women who are trying to do a ceremony. It just felt like once again we are made to feel like less,” Rebecca Thomas, a Mi’kmaq activist and poet said to CTV Atlantic.
The ceremony took place at a statue of Edward Cornwallis, the so-called “founder” of Halifax. It was meant to honor the Mi’kmaq people who were scalped, mistreated, and murdered under Cornwallis’ leadership. Under his leadership, the Halifax government issued a bounty on Mi’kmaq scalps.
A military spokesperson later confirmed that two members of the Royal Canadan Navy were among the men who perpetrated the filmed incident, brandishing the Red Ensign Flag, singing “God Save the Queen.”
The men approached and disrupted the ceremony in the middle of a prayer, and proclaimed “This was Mi’kmaq territory. This is now Canada. This is Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is a British Colony.”
In a video, one of the men identified as being a member of a right-wing group called the “Proud Boys,” which according to their Facebook page is “a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world.”
The ceremony was being held on “Canada Day,” which was marked by widespread Indigenous-led protest and resistance against 150 years of colonialism and occupation embodied in the Canadian state.