Trustees vote to remove Catholic bishop's name from Edmonton elementary school

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EDMONTON — The board of trustees of Edmonton Catholic Schools has voted unanimously to rename an elementary school bearing the name of a bishop who helped set up residential schools.

The trustees agreed to immediately drop Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin's last name and remove part of a mural depicting him from the school's exterior.

Board chairwoman Sandra Palazzo says the recent discoveries of unmarked graves at two former residential school sites have caused Canadians to reflect on the role of historical figures.

Grandin Catholic Elementary School opened more than 105 years ago.

Grandin was a Roman Catholic bishop from St. Albert, just north of Edmonton.

Earlier this month, Edmonton city council voted to remove his name from one of the city's light-rail transit stations and covered a mural of him at the stop.

"The revelation of graves at other residential school sites has caused Canadians to reflect deeply upon the impact of naming buildings and spaces after historical figures whose actions are no longer considered acceptable in our modern culture that values equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism," Palazzo said in a news release Monday.

"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.”

The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan announced last week that ground-penetrating radar had located potentially 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School site.

The same technology detected what are believed to be the remains of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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