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Reconciliation Requires Us to Look Directly at Macdonald's actions in the Prairies

Many will say that we shouldn't judge Sir John A. MacDonald by the 'standards of our time.' I agree. I think we should judge him by the standards of the brave anti-racist voices that opposed him in his own time - predominantly the indigenous people who most strongly felt the pain of John A. Macdonald's policies.

There is a lot that will be, and should be, written about John A.'s steadfast belief in the cultural genocide under the Residential School system in Canada, the starvation policies on the prairies, the hanging of Louis Riel. But today I wanted to point towards the story of the largest mass execution in Canadian history. It occurred on November 27th, 1885 with the hanging of eight Cree and Assiniboine men in North Battleford, Sask (hyper-linked to scholarly research on the subject.)

Following the mass execution, John A. Macdonald wrote that "the executions ought to convince the Red Man that the White Man governs." I hope Kingston is ready for a conversation about John A. Macdonald's flaws beyond alcoholism. There is a lot of darkness in the story.

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