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Pedestrians walk past a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Charlottetown, on March 4, 2019.The Canadian Press

First Nations groups and Charlottetown city council are at odds over how to deal with a statue of Canada’s first prime minister.

Members of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils – which represents the Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations – say they want more than modifications to an existing plaque next to the statue downtown of Sir John A. Macdonald.

The demands from the Prince Edward Island First Nations groups echo similar calls from across the country for the removal of Macdonald statues because of his role in the creation of Canada’s residential school system.

Charlottetown Major Philip Brown said today discussions have been underway since last summer, adding it has been difficult during the pandemic to get everyone together to make progress.

He says the plan is to keep the statue in place – which features Macdonald sitting on a bench – and to add a plaque next to it that provides a more nuanced history of his role in Canada’s founding.

Brown says he wants to hear from Indigenous groups and history scholars, and says any changes must be approved by the Colorado artist who made the statue.

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