“We instill in them a pronounced distaste for the Native life so that they will be humiliated when reminded of their origin. When they graduate from our institutions, the children have lost everything Native except their blood,” said Bishop Grandin.
Say what? Who said that? Surely you don’t mean Bishop Grandin who Grandin College is named after? You betcha. That’s him. Eschia!
I say remove Grandin’s name off anything and everything in the NWT.
How could this happen you say? Well, the government was trying to “civilize” Indigenous adults. Shortly after Grandin became the Bishop of St Albert, he realized this “civilizing” project would take too long.
He said it would be better to isolate the children from their parents and provide them with a basic education and vocational skills.
And, if you want to know why and who did something, “follow the money!!!” Grandin began to promote and lobby for government funding to begin weaning children from their traditional lifestyle.
And, so he began his work of kidnapping our children and brainwashing them so that they “lost everything Native except their blood.”
But that wasn’t good enough. He instituted a system whereby our children were taught to be ashamed of their culture and traditional lifestyle, “so that they will be humiliated when reminded of their origin.”
Not only that, the children were beaten, starved, and tortured for transgressions like speaking their language or speaking to their relatives of the opposite sex. And of course, many, many of the children were sexually, mentally, spiritually and emotionally abused. Not cool at all.
To boot, we now know that over 6,000 Indigenous children died during this forced assimilation in the residential schools, including many in the NWT.
No wonder kids could not relate to their families when they returned home.
No wonder kids lost their languages.
No wonder so many are in pain.
No wonder Indigenous people turned to alcohol.
No wonder people have developed a stereotype of the “drunken Indian.”
Grandin’s name removed in Alberta
So, is this the type of man we want to honor by naming our buildings and streets after? I think not.
We need to follow the lead of Alberta cities. Edmonton city council recently voted unanimously to remove all city references to Bishop Grandin, including renaming the downtown Grandin LRT station and covering its controversial mural.
In introducing the motion, Mayor Don Iveson talked about the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The next morning, Grandin’s mural inside the Grandin LRT Station was covered with orange panels. Symbolic? Yup. Remember, we use orange shirts every September 30 to educate people about residential schools. Right on, Edmonton.
The city is asking its naming committee to include Indigenous leaders in coming up with recommendations for a new name for the station.
And that’s not all. The Calgary Catholic School District conducted an online survey and nearly 80 per cent of the parents and members of the school district agree that Bishop Grandin High School should be renamed. Yay, Calgary!
A report on the findings says people supported renaming the school because of Bishop Grandin’s role in creating residential schools and the residential school legacy.
People were also concerned about the Indigenous students within their school district and want to take a step towards the reconciliation outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).
These actions follow the lead of the Calgary Board of Education which passed a motion to change Langevin School to Riverside School. Woohoo. Hector-Louis Langevin was one of the fathers of Confederation and is considered to be an architect of the residential school system.
So come on NWT, if Alberta can do this why can’t we? Rename Grandin College and remove any other references to Bishop Grandin from public things like buildings and streets.