Philosoper’s Cafe examines how we view our history

Historian and teacher Ian Kennedy discusses historical symbols and their relevance today

Historian and teacher Ian Kennedy will be the next speaker at the popular Philosoper’s Cafe series at Berwick.

You’ve heard the expression “those that ignore history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

You may have also heard that “history is written by the victors.”

Then there is the expression “revisionist history.”

But really, does it matter when charting our path into the future?

In the past year we have seen much uproar over the flying of the Confederate flag in the U.S. Closer to home, controversy arose at the removal of a statue of our Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in Victoria. Can we (and should we) judge the past by today’s standards?

In both of these cases, the symbol (flag or statue) was viewed by different people in very different ways. MacDonald was a founder of our nation. It is argued that without him there would be no Canada. And yet, he is also an architect of the residential school system which has caused so much pain in First Nations communities. But does the existence of a statue of him really matter?

These historical symbols can still generate controversy, but are these relics really relevant to life today? Does it matter who created the residential school system? Does history matter, or is it only relevant to know where we are today and where we collectively hope to go in the future?

Join the Philosophers’ Café on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m, at the Berwick as Ian Kennedy helps us examine the Importance of history and its relevance in today’s world.

Kennedy holds a degree in history and geography from UBC and taught both subjects for thirty years to high school students. He is the author of a wide range of articles on pubs, rugby, travel, cabin living, motorcycling and history. His history publications include Tofino and Clayoquot Sound –A History (2014), The Life and Times of Joseph McPhee: Courtenay’s Founding Father (2010) and Sunny Sandy Savary – a History of Savary Island (1992). He lives in Comox.

Once a month a speaker will introduce a theme to the Café, and then all who attend can join in respectful, non-partisan conversation, or just sit back and listen. You are welcome to propose topics and introduce them at future Cafés. Themes should be of broad interest and national significance, and have an element of controversy to them.

As with each Café, Kennedy will have just 10 minutes to introduce the topic, and then the floor is open for 50 minutes of moderated discussion.

For more info on the Philosopher’s Cafe series, contact organizer Peter Schwarzhoff at peter@peterschwarzhoff.ca or for more information on Kennedy, visit ianjmkennedy.ca