Rename Cornwallis & Creighton Streets in Lunenburg to Honour Mi’kmaq & Black Communities

Rename Cornwallis & Creighton Streets in Lunenburg to Honour Mi’kmaq & Black Communities

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Petition to Rename Cornwallis & Creighton Streets in Lunenburg to Honour Mi’kmaq & Black Communities

This petition calls on the Town of Lunenburg to do the following: 

  • Rename “Cornwallis St.” to “E’se’katik St.” 
  • Rename "Creighton St.” to "Sylvia St.” 
  • Replace “Merligueche” interpretive panel located at the Old French Cemetery with accurate information in consultation with the Mi'kmaq community including that the village of Merligueche was ordered destroyed by Edward Cornwallis and the area was originally called E’se’katik by the Mi'kmaq. 
  • Install interpretive panel in consultation with the Black Nova Scotian community beside current plaque recognizing Colonel Creighton to honour Sylvia of Lunenburg and acknowledge Lunenburg’s slaveholding past.

The above are small steps towards demonstrating a commitment to anti-racism by recognizing how Mi’kmaq and Black communities have been negatively impacted by Lunenburg’s colonial history and racism in our community as well as an opportunity for educating both visitors and local residents.

Replace Cornwallis St. with E’se’katik St. 

For over a hundred years, Lunenburg was a Mi’kmaq/Acadian village called Mirliguèche by the French but the region was originally known to the Mi'kmaq as E’se’katik, meaning 'at the place of clams'. In 1749 Governor Edward Cornwallis ordered Mirliguèche destroyed and sent troops led by Commander White to destroy the village. By 1753 one Mi’kmaq/Acadian family remained in the area, Paul Labrador (Guédry, dit LaVerdure), his wife Anne Mieuss who was half Mi’kmaq, and their children. Descendents of the Labrador family continue to live in the area and practice traditional ways of living passed on since time immemorial. Renaming Cornwallis St is a symbolic way for Lunenburg to recognize that all of Nova Scotia is in fact Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.  

In 2018 the City of Halifax removed the statue of Edward Cornwallis after more than thirty years of Mi’kmaq calling for the statue’s removal on the grounds that a man responsible for inciting genocide should not be publicly celebrated. Honouring Cornwallis with statues and streets is a constant reminder of the pain, suffering and colonization endured by Mi’kmaq to this day. 


Replace Creighton St. with Sylvia St. 


Colonel John Creighton is best known for his conduct during the American privateer raid of 1 July 1782 on Lunenburg, he was also a slave owner. Sylvia was enslaved by Creighton during Nova Scotia's period of slavery. When the town was invaded by American soldiers Sylvia bravely shuttled cartridges of ammunition hidden in her apron from Creighton’s house to the fort where he and his soldiers were engaged in battle. When the house came under fire, Sylvia threw herself on top of the colonel’s son to protect him with her own body. During the battle she concealed Creighton's valuables in a bag that she lowered into a well for safe keeping, and also protected the home and possessions of Major Jessen, according to one source"tradition has it that she helped to load the muskets in the blockhouse and even fire them.” Sylvia died in Halifax on 12 March 1824 age 70 and is buried in the Old Burying Ground. 

While Creighton has been recognized and rewarded, to this day Sylvia has never been honoured, or publicly acknowledged. Children who go to school in Lunenburg do not learn about Sylvia or Nova Scotia’s period of slavery, there are no plaques, statues, or tributes to her anywhere in the Town of Lunenburg. In the absence of a visibly diverse town council or administration this small acknowledgement of Lunenburg's long history with racism is a step towards an equitable future where all histories are equal. 

In addition to this online petition residents of Lunenburg are asked to call their representatives and/or send a written request to:

Town of Lunenburg
119 Cumberland Street, P.O. Box 129
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada B0J 2C0
Phone: (902) 634-4410 Fax: (902) 634-4416  

MAYOR RACHEL BAILEY
Phone: 902-634-4410, ext. 224 Fax: 902-634-4416 rbailey@explorelunenburg.ca

DEPUTY MAYOR JOHN MCGEE
Phone: 902-634-3541 Fax: 902-634-4416 jmcgee@explorelunenburg.ca

COUNCILLOR DANNY CROFT
Phone: 902-634-3706 Fax: 902-634-4416 dcroft@explorelunenburg.ca

COUNCILLOR RONNIE BACHMAN
Phone: 902-634-3627 Fax: 902-634-4416 rbachman@explorelunenburg.ca

COUNCILLOR PETER MOSHER
Phone: 902-634-3968 Fax: 902-634-4416 pmosher@explorelunenburg.ca

COUNCILLOR MATT RISSER
Phone: 902-634-8113 Fax: 902-634-4416 mrisser@explorelunenburg.ca