The Monument

Article: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/in-conversation-with-matt-mcrae-291943901.html

 

The monument of a soldier with a pointy-hat is located in Downtown Winnipeg, commemorating the Royal Winnipeg Air Rifles men who fought in the Northwest Rebellion in of 1885 against Louis Riel and won. Although not many people know of this monument, there are many controversial perceptions of its’ symbolism.

When looking into the past, it is important to examine all perspectives during the event in question. The Red River Rebellion was a very significant battle, that led to the eventual joining of Manitoba into Canadian Confederation. The Rebellion is still an important part of our history and this monument is representative of the fighting efforts of the Winnipeg Air Rifles. Still, the monument has received criticism based on the fact that “it could be perceived as a symbol of animosity towards past First Nations of Canada” (Winnipeg Culture Department). I do not believe that the ethical nature of this monument was harmful and meant to disrespect towards First Nations’. This monument is significant, as it is representative of the fighting efforts of the Winnipeg Air Rifles. However, there are little or few things to show the persistence of the Metis. The Metis have played a large role in the progress of Manitoba, as at the time they defied the Canadian government in order to have their rights and culture preserved, despite being a minority. We should not ignore or disregard parts of our past that we want to be forgotten or are deemed controversial. It is important to question our history and how it has impacted today’s society. This monument is symbolic of the viewpoint that many citizens had at the time, one where the Metis had to be controlled by the government. At the time Louis Riel fought for Metis rights and 200 years later, there are still issues with minority equality. A recent Macleans article claims Winnipeg as the most racist city in Canada. If we want to fix the problem at hand, a new perspective needs to be used when examining the issues at hand. There are many existing judgements towards the Indigenous, which is most likely why they are located at the bottom of almost every quality of life index in the country.

It is important to remember our past, and realize how far we have come to the present. However, it crucial to recognize all viewpoints and use ethical judgement to take into consideration the time of the event. If we cannot change our perspective and current prejudices, we can never learn from the past and try to fix the problems that still exist within our society.

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