Rename Ryerson school in Hamilton, HWDSB trustee says

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Published May 31, 2021 at 7:50 pm

School board official Cam Galindo has initiated the process to possibly rename Ryerson Elementary School in central Hamilton.

On Monday, amid the outpouring of empathy toward residential school survivors after the discovery of 215 children found in a mass grave outside of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., Galindo said he had “filed a notice of Motion to rename Ryerson Elementary School” and also “initiate a review of all schools (in Hamilton) named after individuals.”

Egerton Ryerson, the namesake of the school, designed a model for residential schools in the 19th century that was influential in shaping a system that amounted to cultural genocide.Ryerson is also credited for starting public school in Ontario.

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“We are still on a path to truth and reconciliation and must continue our work on Indigenous Education so that all Indigenous students and staff feel that they belong, and their identities are valued, recognized and affirmed in our schools,” Galindo wrote in his motion, which he posted on his Twitter account.

Galindo added that a renaming committee for the school would consult with the HWDSB Indigenous Education team.

Flags at Hamilton City Hall and at schools and government buildings were lowered to half-mast on Monday. They will stay at half-mast for 215 hours, or nine days, which equals — starting Monday, for nine days (215 hours) to honour the children found in the mass grave.

Between the late 1800s to 1996,  about 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were separated from their families and forced to attend the residential schools. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was active from 2008 to ’15, found that at least one in every 50 of these students died. 

Culturally safe support is available at the Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society 24/7 crisis line at 1-800-721-0066.

 

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