The statue of Gassy Jack in Vancouver's Gastown has been pulled down during the annual Memorial Women's March in the city's Downtown Eastside.
Numerous people took to Twitter Monday (Feb. 14) afternoon to share photos and videos of the statue, located at Carrall and Water streets, being pulled down with ropes by people in the crowd. After the statue was toppled, demonstrators replaced it with a lone red dress and red paint.
In June 2020, the statue was defaced with red paint, which sparked a conversation about the controversial figure. According to a short film entitled "Red Women Rising" by the Battered Women's Support Services, Jack Deighton, known as "Gassy Jack," violated a 12-year-old Indigenous girl by taking her as his child bride. An online petition was started calling for the removal of Deighton's likeness that gained nearly 25,000 signatures.
Vancouver Police say they are investigating the incident but no one was injured and no arrests have been made.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart took to Twitter to remark that the city has been in consultations with the Squamish Nation on the "right way" to remove the statue and "recognize the truth of John Deighton’s harmful legacy."
"Today’s actions were dangerous [and] undermines ongoing work with Squamish [Nation] to guide steps to reconciliation," he said.
Here are some photos and videos of the statue being pulled down Gastown.
And Gassy Jack is down! ✊🏼 pic.twitter.com/xYoy5moiyD— MassyBooks (@MassyBooks) February 14, 2022
gassy jack is down 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/sOpylHnWmk— auntie depressant (@marleelav) February 14, 2022
And down goes Gassy Jack…. pic.twitter.com/Nk7yUbP4sW— Damon (@DamonD) February 14, 2022
Red Women Rising
In "Red Women Rising," the narrator explains how Gassy Jack was married to an Indigenous woman whose name is "lost to history." They add that he purchased the woman's niece - 12-year-old Quahail-ya - to act as his "wife."
"Gassy Jack's statue still standing there commemorates and celebrations the ongoing devastation of First Nations people, our laws, our land, our rights, and mostly our women," says the narrator.
"When I see that statue standing there it enrages me, it offends me, it insults me, it hurts me and it motivates me to keep doing what I have to do to become one of those red women rising."