Mi'kmaw drumming and dancing marked the official dedication and renaming ceremony held Friday in Dartmouth for the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Kopit Hopson 1752.
Formerly known as the Edward Cornwallis, the British founder of Halifax, the multi-task ship was renamed in 2021 by then Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan.
Jordan, coast guard brass and several Mi'kmaw chiefs were on hand for the wharf-side ceremony at the coast guard base at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.
The new name honours two people — Peregrine Hopson, the person who replaced Cornwallis as governor of Nova Scotia, and Kopit, a Mi'kmaw chief of the Sipekne'katik.
Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley, representing the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs, said it was an important event.
"This name honours and recognizes Sagmaw Kopit and Governor Hopson, who together negotiated and signed the 1752 treaty. Renaming this vessel with both their names reflects how important our nation-to-nation relationship is,' Bernard-Daisley said.
Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley, represented the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs at the event. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC)
Former We'koqma'q chief Rod Googoo sponsored the vessel and helped swing the bottle that christened the 83-metre ship.
Googoo was co-chair of the task force looking at the way Edward Cornwallis is commemorated in Halifax and how to recognize Indigenous history. Cornwallis is vilified for issuing a so-called "scalping proclamation" that offered a bounty to anyone who killed Mi'kmaw men, women and children.
Political pressure has forced the removal of his namesake from several buildings in Halifax.
Googoo acknowledged the work of late Mi'kmaw writer Dan Paul in the renaming.
Mario Pelletier, commissioner of the coast guard, said the renaming is an important act of reconciliation.
"The beauty of this is that we did it in partnership with the Mi'kmaq. So basically we knew there was some pressure about changing the names. So we approached them and they suggested the three different variants and we agreed on this one. This is why we're here today,' Pelletier said Friday.
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