Dalhousie University looks to replace ceremonial mace featuring settler imagery

Dalhousie University has put out an open call for designs to replace a ceremonial mace that features symbols of European colonization.

A university official who sits on a committee that is trying to find a new ceremonial object says the mace is "not historically complete" because it does not reflect the school's Mi'kmaq and African-Nova Scotian communities.

Lindsay Dowling says the oak-carved mace has been used at convocation ceremonies for more than 65 years and is a "symbol of authority" that traces its roots to England.

The designers of the 1.4-metre-long mace wrote in a 1950 edition of the Dalhousie Review that it includes symbols of Christianity, European settlers and "the flowering of civilization."

Dowling says a committee composed of students, staff and interest groups will review submissions for a new ceremonial object that better reflects the university's values.

She says the call for submissions closes on April 10 and a jury will narrow it down to five finalists.

The new design will be unveiled at a university event kicking off Dalhousie's 200th anniversary.