Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association Calls For Private Alexander Watson Statue to be Removed Permanently as Symbol of White Supremacy and Militarism
A News Release from the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association, a citizens group in Niagara, Ontario
Posted July 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
St. Catharines, Ontario – On Monday, July 27, 2020 the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association made the following written submission to the St. Catharines City Council, urging it to remove the Private Alexander Watson statue permanently, not just relocate it, as it is ultimately a symbol of white and Anglophone supremacy and militarism and therefore should not stand anywhere:
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
The statue of Private Alexander Watson is ultimately a symbol of identification with white and Anglophone supremacy and militarism and therefore has no place anywhere other than the dust bin of history. It should not be relocated but should be disposed of and destroyed.
Any heritage value of the statue is tainted by the living heritage of racism, and to overlook this is to overlook the systemic inequity that the North-West Rebellion’s defeat brought forward, which Private Watson died contributing to.
The defeat of the Metis and First Nations in the North-West Rebellion reverberated across Canada and was a high water mark in establishing not only white and Anglophone supremacy but specifically the systematic oppression of Canada’s Indigenous peoples that served as the model for Apartheid in South Africa and elsewhere, such as the Pass System.
It was not just an obscure conflict in a land far away. Chief Poundmaker said that after the Rebellion “[being] Indian was like being in a cage.”
Any claim that the statue has long been part of our heritage or has come to symbolize war veterans in general should recognize that this heritage has been one of on-going genocide of the Indigenous, and a symbol of militarism because it celebrates and promotes war in general under the cover of sympathy for veterans who needlessly suffered in senseless slaughters for empire.
Signed, Saleh Waziruddin, Erika Smith, Marcel Stewart, for the Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association
A Brief Footnote from Niagara At Large –
The issue of whether or not a 134-year old statue honouring Private Alexander Watson should remain on civic ground in front of St. Catharines City Hall was raised this past spring when one of the city’s councillors, Karrie Porter, said she would table a motion to have it removed.
Porter’s motion was a response to an on-line petition by the traction an online petition, posted by St. Catharines resident Gavin Fearon, was receiving for having the statue removed due to Watson’s involvement in military campaigns in western Canada that gave rise to acts of oppression and genocide against Indigenous peoples.
St. Catharines’ council has yet to make a final decision on what to do about the statue.
To visit Gavin Fearon’s petition to have the Watson statue removed from the grounds of St. Catharines City Hall, click on – https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/en/st_catharines_city_council_remove_the_watson_monument_from_st_catharines_city_hall/
To read a story published this June in The St. Catharines Standard on this issue, click on – https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news/niagara-region/2020/06/18/watson-statue-may-be-removed-from-front-of-st-catharines-city-hall.html
For another story on this issue, posted and broadcast by HeartRadio CKTB in St. Catharines, click on – https://www.iheartradio.ca/610cktb/news/man-behind-petition-to-remove-st-catharines-statue-says-nobody-can-erase-history-1.12741277
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