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Cabot: A Lesson in Reconciliation

Updated: Mar 4

Letter by Margaret MacDonnell

The Halifax Examiner - Oct. 31, 2022

Originally published here

A recent experience has become a lesson in reconciliation for me. This experience has helped me to understand a bit more the experience of colonization. My experience is a teeny tiny glimpse, a fraction to the magnitude of 1/1,000,000,000,0000th of the experience of colonization. But, I find it illuminating to my journey of reconciliation. I was recently sent a link to an article from a magazine called Beyond the Contour, its audience the world of elite golf. In this article Cabot Cape Breton was boasting of its plan to develop a golf course at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. The article was complete with course plans and praise for the course developer. It was all described as if it was a done deal: the world of elite golf could look forward with great anticipation to this magnificent new course on the brink of development. A whole new world awaits in Mabou Point with the advent of Cabot Harbour.

That’s right, history was being rewritten: West Mabou Beach Provincial Park (protected parkland belonging to all Nova Scotians) was referred to as Mabou Point. Mabou Harbour was now Cabot Harbour.

Cabot Harbour. Doesn’t that just say it all? It’s ours now. Let’s give it a new name. Let’s take this place that is held sacred to so many and give it a new name, a new purpose, a purpose that serves Cabot, not Nova Scotians. According to the gist of the article, all that is left to stake claim to the new territory is the placing of the Cabot flag on the sand dune: It’s ours now. Even the offering of trinkets has taken place. And trust me, $125,000 is a trinket to a billionaire. Future generations may well refer to this era in the history of Inverness County as the era of The Great Dune Clearances. Cabot will not stop until it has developed every significant dune system in the county. And after all, according to the community liaison, Cabot Cliffs has taught us that Cabot has the ability to develop a dune while preserving it – that state in the process where we are asked to embrace the narrative that serves their (corporate) agenda.

Cabot, the new company store. Moses Coady must be rolling over in his grave. So much for being masters of our own destiny (sic). Another really important lesson from the history of colonization in this country that illuminates my journey of reconciliation: we are all only stewards of the earth. It belongs to none of us. We are called to honour Creation. Unama’kik, where my heart will never leave.

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