Black Mi’kmaq say they are targets of graffiti at Delaps Cove

Lawrence Powell, The Spectator
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Call for support from Mi'kmaq Warriors, Idle No More

DELAPS COVE - A group representing the original residents of Delaps Cove community said words spray painted on the rocks on the Annapolis County shore constitute a hate crime.

This old boat was tagged with yellow paint at Delaps Cove recently. Annapolis County Recreation Manager Debra Ryan described the vandalism as appalling and disrespectful.

The cliffs at the falls area have been spray painted and the Meier Point monument, placed there in 2012, has been toppled. Interpretive signs had been taken down and carried to other locations.

Messages written in large, yellow letters include, “No Homo,” “Homewrecker,” “White Power,” and “Drink Drank Drunk.”

Duston Stevenson of Barton, Digby County, said he believes the graffiti was directed at the Delaps Cove Black Indian Pioneer Society, a group that represents the Black Mi'kmaq from the area. Those at Delaps Cove used to be known as Medabankeajetc  - Little Red Bank Nation.

Stevenson said the vandalism dishonours the place, the elders, and his people’s ancestors. He described the graffiti as a hate crime against his people.

The society held an emergency meeting over the weekend and members are concerned about a traditional Aboriginal Day celebration planned for June 21 at the cove.

Stevenson, whose grandmother was born at Delaps Cove, said the event would go ahead with extra precautions such as Mi'kmaq Warriors on hand and a boat off the coast. He said the group might hire a private investigator to look into the matter. Aboriginal Day will begin with a morning song and then attendees will gather plants and roots and celebrate throughout the community. He said Warriors would be there, along with Idle No More members.

“We’ll be on guard,” he said. “We’re really ticked off. They started something they’ll wish they never started. The elders are so upset about this.”

Black Loyalists

Who lived in Delaps Cove?  

“At the end of the American Revolution, both free and enslaved blacks came to Nova Scotia,” writes Ryan Scranton in his Annapolis Royal Heritage blog. “(Delaps Cove) was a relatively secluded community which arose from the fact that Black Loyalists were often granted the worst tracts of land.”

Scranton, with the Annapolis Heritage Society, walked the trails at Delaps Cove and was describing moss-covered rocks that had been the foundation of a small Black Loyalist home.

“Among the families who once lived in this community were the Simms, Skanks, Pomp (Stephenson), Currie, Johnson and Brothers,” said Scranton. “One of the later families to arrive is the Marsman family who previously lived in the Halifax area. While one house still stands, there are currently no people living in this part of Delap's Cove.”

Stevenson said his family’s last name was originally Stephenson but was changed when members of his family were taken to Residential School.

The RCMP has been contacted.

“We do have a complaint from the county on the vandalism and the investigation continues,” said Annapolis RCMP Cpl. Dale Guy.

Organizations: Delaps Cove Black Indian Pioneer Society, RCMP, Annapolis Royal Heritage Annapolis Heritage Society Residential School

Geographic location: Digby County, Nova Scotia, Halifax Annapolis

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