After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous and community leaders consider her legacy and how the monarchy is or will be playing a role in reconciliation .
Queen Elizabeth made three visits to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1959, 1978 and 1997. On her visit in 1997, she stopped at St Sherjohns, Bonavista, North Sheriff River, Shesiatz.
Miawpukek chief Mi’sel Joe remembers when Queen Elizabeth II took the throne. He sat on the beach watching his father and some other men mending a boat chatting about the new monarch. It never occurred to him that he would see her later.
“That memory has sat with me for years,” he said.
Joe met Queen Elizabeth during her 1997 visit to Newfoundland and Labrador, and later met her son, the current King Charles, during a visit to St. John’s in May.
Joe said he had a pleasant conversation with Charles.
“I told him I was born when this was a British colony. He said, ‘I wish you were treated well back then,'” Joe said. I was. “Well, I didn’t have time to answer that.”
Indigenous settlements were the focus of the 2022 Royal Tour. Charles acknowledged the Canadian boarding school but made no apologies.
Joe said he expected the state and federal governments, not the royal family, to commit to truth and reconciliation.
“If anything changes [that] Coming to us as Aborigines in this state would come directly from the government at the time,” he said.
“All deaths are painful”
Sheshatshiu Chief Eugene Hart said he hoped the royal family would cooperate more with indigenous peoples and First Nations. As for the Queen’s legacy, he didn’t have a definitive answer.
“Honestly, I really don’t know what legacy there was,” he said.
In 1997, while she was staying in Sheshassiu, community leaders submitted a letter to the Queen denouncing colonization and its effects.
Sheshatshiu resident Xavier Penashue said he was shocked to learn of the queen’s death.
“All deaths are painful,” he said.
He also believes the royal family can play a role in reconciliation.
“I think they can start by informing the government to help…the indigenous peoples,” he said.
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