Pressure builds for change at London, Ont. schools named after figures tied to residential schools
Ryerson Public School in London, Ont.
LONDON, ONT. -- Pressure is building to change the names of London Ont, schools and institutions named after historical figures involved in the establishment of residential schools.
“We cannot erase something that happened, we cannot erase something they teach in school. What they don’t teach is our story,” says Brian Hill, from the Oneida of the Thames First Nation and board of directors' president for N’Amerind Friendship Centre.
The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) is holding a virtual meeting Tuesday evening, to discuss changing the names of Ryerson Public School and Sir John A Macdonald Public School.
Egerton Ryerson was an architect of Canada's residential school system, which aimed to convert and assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian culture and saw them suffer physical and sexual abuse as well as death.
Sir John A. Macdonald - Canada's first prime minister, was a champion of residential schools and his government starved Indigenous people in order to expand railways.
The name changes are long overdue for Hill.
“Changing those names is not going to change the event, it is not going to change the history, the fallout, the trauma. But it will help heal it. The acknowledging and recognizing, that’s the first step, the first step in a long line of steps that need to be taken.”