Petition to remove Gassy Jack statue gains traction after vandalism

Jun 17 2020, 3:39 pm

A petition calling for the removal of a statue of Gassy Jack in Gastown has received thousands of signatures since the statue was vandalized Tuesday.

The statue of John Deighton, also known as Gassy Jack, was splattered with red paint Tuesday morning, which led to dialogue about who the man behind the statue really was — although Indigenous women have been leading this call for some time.

According to the petition, created six days ago and before the statue was defaced, “statues are erected to honour individuals in our society. “Gassy” Jack Deighton never deserved this honour, and his likeness being displayed prominently in Gastown is a terrible symbol of Vancouver upholding and honouring violence towards and oppression of Indigenous People.”

At the age of 40, Deighton was married to and impregnated a 12-year-old Indigenous girl named Quahail-ya.

“This is not about erasing history, but about reconciliation,” reads the petition.

“It is about taking steps towards no longer upholding and enforcing violence and oppression towards the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.”

So far, the petition to remove Gassy Jack’s statue has over 3,700 signatures.

Many protesters worldwide have dismantled or destroyed statues, highlighting the histories of certain memorialized figures.

The City of Vancouver announced Wednesday that it will be addressing “structural racism” in a review of the city’s statues and monuments.