Grandin name removed from Edmonton Catholic elementary school

·2 min read
A worker removes part of a mural paying tribute to Bishop Vital Grandin from the side of Grandin School in downtown Edmonton.  (Art Raham/CBC - image credit)
A worker removes part of a mural paying tribute to Bishop Vital Grandin from the side of Grandin School in downtown Edmonton. (Art Raham/CBC - image credit)

Edmonton Catholic School trustees voted unanimously on Monday to remove the name of a bishop who was instrumental in establishing residential schools from the name of an elementary school.

The 105-year-old school at 98th Avenue and 110th Street was named after Vital Grandin, the first Roman Catholic bishop of St. Albert. Grandin was a proponent and architect of the residential school system in Canada.

The recent discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan has forced institutions to reckon with Grandin's role in a system that inflicted so much suffering, abuse and trauma on Indigenous Canadians.

Edmonton Catholic board chair Sandra Palazzo said the truth needed to be acknowledged.

"It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are not honouring any aspect of the legacy of the residential school system or further traumatizing members of the Indigenous communities we presently serve," Palazzo said.

Thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to attend the schools, an effort by the Canadian government to strip them of their language and culture.. Students were starved, physically and sexually abused.

Justice Murray Sinclair, who served as chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said the TRC found that at least 6,000 children died.

Art Raham/CBC
Art Raham/CBC

Edmonton Catholic trustees also voted in favour of removing a mural paying tribute to Grandin on the side of the school building. Workers started removing the mural shortly after the motion was approved.

Edmonton city council is removing the Grandin name from an LRT station and covered a mural that paid tribute to him.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by these reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting