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'That hurt has been extended': Indigenous leaders in Manitoba share displeasure of Queen Elizabeth II statue being back up

Two years after two statues were knocked down and damaged at the Manitoba Legislature, one is now back up and Indigenous leaders are upset by the decision.

Last week, the province put up the Queen Elizabeth II statue back in its original place and leaders say there was no warning and it is bad timing.

"It will have negative reactions from our people no doubt," said Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee.

In a statement, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said the province did not consult on this decision, calling the move disappointing and upsetting.

"The replacement of the Queen Elizabeth II statue, without warning, perpetuates the painful legacy of Canadian colonialism," the statement said. "By re-erecting the statue commemorating Queen Elizabeth II, that hurt has been extended."

Settee agrees with Merrick's comments.

"Our people are recovering from the discovery of unmarked graves. It's a bad time to reintroduce the monarchy's legacy," said Settee.

Settee would like the space to be used for a new statue of an Indigenous leader like Elijah Harper, who was an MLA from 1981 to 1992 and an MP from 1993 to 1997.

The province is planning a statue of Chief Peguis for the legislature grounds in 2024. Government Services Minister James Teitsma also noted First Nations leaders were told about the Queen Elizabeth statue last year.

"The province engaged with AMC leadership and First Nations groups and advised that the Queen Elizabeth II statue would be returned to its location, and no concerns were conveyed at the time," Teitsma said in a statement.

Since being put back up, the statue has already been vandalized. The words "colonizer" and "killer” were spray painted on the statue.

Governor General Mary Simon addressed the concerns on Wednesday, saying, "There is frustrations, there's anger and from time to time, they will express that anger and the frustrations."

The Winnipeg Police Service said it is investigating the vandalism and no one has been charged to date. Top Stories

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