Manitoba to announce Chief Peguis statue for legislative grounds

The Manitoba government is set to make an announcement about the installation of a Chief Peguis statue on the provincial legislature grounds.

Indigenous reconciliation and northern relations minister Eileen Clarke and government services minister James Teitsma will be joined by Bill Shead, co-chair of the Friends of the Peguis Selkirk Treaty Inc., at 1:30 p.m.

Peguis, a Saulteaux chief, led his people from the Great Lakes region to what is now Manitoba in the 1790s. He signed the 1817 treaty with Lord Selkirk, granting land to the Selkirk settlers along the Red and Assiniboine rivers.

The namesake of Peguis First Nation and the Chief Peguis Trail, he’s widely credited for his decades of work advocating against misuse of traditional lands by settlers, and in support of Indigenous rights, until his death in 1864.

Click to play video: 'Crews remove base of Queen Victoria’s statue from the Legislative grounds'

Crews remove base of Queen Victoria’s statue from the Legislative grounds

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The topic of statues on the province’s legislative grounds has been a controversial one.

A demonstration over the deaths of Indigenous children at residential schools on Canada Day 2021 led to the toppling of a prominent statue of Queen Victoria on the legislature’s front lawn. A smaller statue of Queen Elizabeth II on the east side of the grounds was also torn down.

The Victoria statue also had its head removed, which was later recovered from the Assiniboine River. The statue was determined to be damaged beyond repair. Its pedestal, still covered in red handprints from the protest, was removed from the legislative grounds last November.

Workers found a broken bottle and an unexpected 101-year-old message inside the pedestal while it was being removed. The message apologized for not depositing a customary full bottle of brandy in the statue’s base, due to then-in-force prohibition laws.

The erection of a Chief Peguis tribute would mark the first statue of a First Nations person on the legislative grounds. Metis leader and founder of Manitoba Louis Riel is honoured with a large statue and plaque on the south side of the building, on the river walkway.

Among the other notable people recognized with statues at the legislature are Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, 19th Century Governor-General Lord Dufferin, suffragist Nellie McClung and the Famous Five, and Icelandic statesman Jon Sigurdsson.

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The grounds also feature statues honouring those who were killed in the Holocaust, Manitobans who died in World War I, and a tribute to victims of war.

Global News will stream the 1:30 p.m. press conference on this page.

Click to play video: 'Damaged Queen Victoria statue is beyond repair, Manitoba government says'

Damaged Queen Victoria statue is beyond repair, Manitoba government says

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