New name for Burlington school a lasting reminder for Indigenous children

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Published November 18, 2021 at 10:31 am

A Burlington elementary school has a new name.

Last night, Halton school board trustees unanimously chose Makwendam as the new name for the now-former Ryerson Public School, located at 565 Woodview Rd.

The new name will take effect immediately and a plan will be developed to make changes to school signage, website, sports uniforms, etc.

The name Makwendam, pronounced muck-kwen-dum, is the Indigenous word for “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language.

In their discussions, Trustees considered that this name would honour the reason for renaming the school, that is, Egerton Ryerson’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system.

There have been growing calls to remove Ryerson’s name from public buildings and institutions and the HDSB has received formal requests to remove Ryerson’s name from the school.

“The choice of Makwendam Public School speaks directly to the purpose of renaming Ryerson Public School. As we search for the lost children on residential school lands, we must remember, we must learn and be better,” said Andréa Grebenc, chair of the Halton District School Board.

“The Halton District School Board is committed to Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness, as outlined in our Strategic Multi-Year Plan commitments. We look forward to hearing the results of the City of Burlington’s naming process for the adjacent park.”

The naming process began in September to ensure the parent/guardian, student and the broader community had the opportunity to provide input. In total, more than 1,200 names were submitted.

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