Whose history is it?

ch-comm1Every person has a history and every group of people does, too.  What happens, though, when the history of two or more groups took place in the same geographic space?  Generally, that of the socio-economically, politically and militarily dominant group sets the narrative.

One only has to look back a few weeks to the recent debate over the proposed re-enactment of the battle of the plains of Abraham to see two dominant historical groups, the French and the English, essentially fighting over whether the historic defeat of one group at the hands of the other should be celebrated or mourned, ignoring completely a third group, Native people, whose own history has been almost erased.


The historic battle of the Plains of Abraham

A similar such situation happened last summer during the celebrations of Quebec’s 400th anniversary.  While discussions raged over who was to be in charge of the festivities and whether it should take a Quebec or Canada slant, the fact that they were commemorating the colonizing of another group’s land was left almost completely out of the discourse.

Around the same time, plans were afoot in Montreal to completely destroy any historical trace of the Irish communities that had originally settled in Griffintown and replace it with an elaborate  shopping mall.  Griffintown, is therefore quite an appropriate place for a discussion on how to reconcile many histories in one community and tonight it will be.


Griffintown redevelopment plans

A Changing Community is the name of a discussion taking place tonight.  It’s organized by the University of the Streets Café, hopes to find out how we can have a better understanding of the various histories that exist in Montreal today and asks if our diverse collective histories need to be merged into one unified story or if the multiplicity of stories can exist as their own narratives.

Historian and community archivist for the Black Studies Center Dorothy Williams will be the special guest and the event is being moderated by Lise Palmer, Youth Project Coordinator at the Quebec Community Groups Network.

It runs from 7-9pm and takes place at Café Griffintown, 1378, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, corner de la Montagne.

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