Schools cast off their old names for new ones

Two schools – one in Ontario and one in British Columbia – have announced that they will be retiring their names in favour of new ones. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools (SD68) will be renaming Coal Tyee Elementary School, which was originally named for Che-Wech-I-Kan (Coal Tyee). The Nanaimo Bulletin reports that the namesake is now regarded as a tragic figure, as his interactions with colonial peoples led to destructive resource extraction. In Ontario, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) has announced that the Sir John A Macdonald School in Pickering will be renamed in honour of Wiikwemkoong water walker Josephine Biidaasige Mandamin. The school will be called Biidassige Mandamin Public School in recognition of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory band member. “It is pretty cool that the school board is honouring my aunt like this,” stated Stephanie Peltier of Wiikwemkoong, of the name change. “It is amazing because they are honouring her for her work in protecting water and awareness of how sacred and important water is. It is a step toward Truth and Reconciliation.”

Manitoulin Expositor | Nanaimo Bulletin | SD68