The head of Egerton Ryerson, last seen decapitated from a statue on the Ryerson University campus in Toronto, has made its way to 1492 Land Back Lane in Caledonia, Ont.
The Six Nations of the Grand River are involved in a land dispute with local developers, who are attempting to build residential housing on property that the Six Nations claim was never surrendered by the Haudenosaunee. According to Skyler Williams, a Six Nations of the Grand River member who has been acting as spokeswoman for 1492 Property Back Lane, the statue head is now lying on a “pike” overlooking the land. The Six Nations of the Grand River reserve located about 20 kilometers south of Hamilton.
Williams said he has no idea how it came to be at the site, but it will be kept unless someone else “wants to take it on tour.”Ryerson was a key architect of Canada’s residential school system, which separated 150,000 Indigenous children from their families until 1996. He added of the statue head, “It’ll stay in its location on the hill for the foreseeable future.”
A tweet from a Twitter account linked to 1492 Land Back Lane showed it staring out over the surrounding land. Demonstrators on the Ryerson University campus toppled and beheaded the statue on Sunday after the remains of an estimated 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
Ryerson was Upper Canada’s chief superintendent of education (now modern-day Ontario). Although [Ryerson] did not implement or oversee the inauguration of the schools, he contributed to their blueprint, according to the Aboriginal Education Council at Ryerson University in 2010.
Statues of colonial individuals like Ryerson, according to Williams, are “iconic emblems of the extermination of our people” and “equivalent to having a Hitler statue in the center of Times Square.”