The massive Canadian flag that covers the front facade of THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener was vandalized.
It happened sometime overnight Friday or early Saturday morning, just in time for Canada Day.
Dave Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM tells 570 NEWS that on his way to work Saturday morning, he saw a black paint-like substance was dripping down the front of the flag and a protest banner hung from the roof.
The banner read “150+YEARS OF RESISTANCE #UNSETTLING 150.”
The hashtag “Unsettling 150” has been used by indigenous groups protesting Canada 150 celebrations.
Marskell believes that the protest sign should become a part of THEMUSEUM’s current exhibition ‘A Cause for Celebration? First Things First,’
The exhibit presents the work of three contemporary Indigenous artists and one new Canadian artist who deal with issues of past and present, healing and justice, hope and vision.
Marskell said that the co-curators agreed with him that the banner should go up in the current exhibition.
Co-Curator Virginia Eichhorn said “I think that a huge part of our intention in creating this exhibition is exactly that, being a safe place for difficult conversations and for saying that there isn’t just one history or perspective on this country. I fully support including the banner and its context as being within that conversation.”
Marskell says that the banner is now a part of the exhibit and adds ” While I do not like everything about the protest I am pleased THEMUSEUM has been chosen as a place to express an important opinion.
It is important to understand how resistance allows understanding of the many voices that make up Canada, its history and the land.”
That morning THEMUSEUM was host to citizenship ceremony for 21 new Canadians, on Canada Day.
Police were contacted about the incident.
As for the massive Canadian flag, it is unclear if it will have to come down or can be cleaned.
Meantime, the region’s local indigenous community is reacting to the vandalism.
Shawn Johnston is the Event Co-ordinator for the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre. He tells 570 NEWS that the act of vandalism has sparked a region-wide conversation. “I’m glad that something like this has happened, right here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Obviously any act of vandalism is wrong, but in this case, it’s pushing the conversation forward, and making people understand what our people went through for countless years.”
Johnston adds he’s happy with THEMUSEUM and their decision to open and not close the door on the controversial dialogue. “I’m glad Dave was able to make sure our voices were heard, and that we have a space to call our own, and to educate those about what’s happened. It’s great that locally, we’re talking about reconciliation and remembrance.
Regional Police continue to investigate.