Canadian history is riddled with historical actors who were once idolized and have since been re-examined (in particular, the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald). The tendency to focus on these individuals has seeped into prominent public discourses about how we memorialize these figures. How can we nuance the narratives that surround these historical figures without simply redacting the aspects of that narrative that are inconsistent with contemporary values? When considering efficiency v. effectiveness, is the tearing down of statues and the changing of the names of schools an effective solution or merely and efficient one?
Canadian history also has its fair share of historical figures who were once demonized and have since been redeemed. The leader of the Red River Rebellion, Louis Riel, is a prime example, but whether the rebellion is seen more positively today or more negatively by its contemporaries, “one [person] does not [a rebellion] make.” Consider the question above (once more) in this context: how can we nuance the narratives that surround these historical figures without simply redacting the aspects of that narrative that are inconsistent with contemporary values? How can the consideration of actors beyond the protagonist/antagonist contribute to this nuance?
(Created by Aaron Thacker, 2018)