St. Albert city council has decided to host public engagement sessions to gather community feedback about landmark names in our city. I support this decision and trust it to be wise leadership.
Landmark names should honour those who have left a positive mark on our community. It has long been public knowledge that Bishop Grandin was an early promoter and advocate for Indian residential schools. One could make the case that he believed he was "helping" the Indigenous people. However, as we now know, the system was part of what is on record as being cultural genocide. The effects on Indigenous people have been devastating and continue to ripple through the generations.
The sad story of the 215 graves at Kamloops Indian Residential School came out on May 27, 2021. I note with appreciation that within one month our local Catholic School Board decided to change the name of Vital Grandin School. When the board made the decision, the sign on the school came down immediately.
To the previous letter-writers I say, if any of you are parents or grandparents, imagine community landmark names honouring someone who used their considerable influence to remove your little ones from your life, your arms, your hearts, when those children were only five years old.
The re-naming process, the important questions it will raise, and the actions taken could become part of ripples of healing going forward in a good way.
John Luth, St. Albert