Calgary group uses guerilla art to advocate for Langevin school name change

Mayor Nenshi said the names need to be changed at the respective school boards' next meetings, in the wake of the discovery of 215 childrens' bodies at location of BC residential school

The Change Langevin School Committee in front of their guerilla art project. CONTRIBUTED / ALBERT WOO

Over the weekend, the fences surrounding Langevin school were draped in yarn to advocate for the name change of Langevin school.

Members of the Change Langevin School Committee have been wanting the school’s name changed due to the fact that Sir Hector Louis Langevin is seen as one of the architects of residential schools.

The art was particularly poignant with the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Langevin School in the Bridgeland Riverside community. GOOGLE

“(Langevin) was a key figure in implementing residential schools in Canada – a system that caused terrible harm to Indigenous children and their families. He supported Macdonald’s plans for residential schools and actively worked to ensure they were funded,” read a release from the committee.

The committee plans to advocate for the name change by putting up yarn sevens in recognition of Treaty Seven made between Indigenous people and the crown in 1877. The committee said that residential schools are an example of how the Crown failed to honour the treaty.

“Residential schools are one of the many broken promises the Crown failed to live up to and consequences that we will continue with today,” said the committee.

Yarn 7’s that symbolize Treaty 7 made between Indigenous people and the Crown. CONTRIBUTED / ALBERT WOO

Student action

Students of the Bridgeland Riverside Science School at Langevin have been advocating for the name change since 2018. Stating that the name casts a negative light on the School. Student Joy McCullagh said that the name change must happen.

“We want the Calgary Board of Education to immediately initiate a process to rename Langevin school. Hector Louis Langevin was a key figure in implementing residential schools in Canada. We should remember his actions, but not honour him for them,” said McCullagh.

Langevin alumna Heather Lucier hopes that Calgarians will learn from what’s happening. She’s hoping for more awareness of Canada’s history and the names tied to it.

“I hope that a better level of awareness will come. The reason I want these things changed is so that people like Langevin won’t be upheld anymore. Because they contributed to the 215 dead bodies found in the residential school.”

There’s also a push to have the name of Bishop Grandin High School changed as well.

Righting the wrongs of the past

Calgary city council has made changes in the past to rectify the past before. In 2018 the formerly-named Langevin bridge was changed to the Reconciliation bridge.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in Monday’s combined meeting of council that he wants to see the names changed the next Calgary Board of Education meeting and that of the Calgary Catholic School Board. We have reached out to both boards for comment, but haven’t yet received a response.

Mayor Nenshi said the city has put a great deal of effort into change.

“It is, I think, good and right for us to acknowledge the work that’s been done while also realizing that much remains to be done,” the mayor said.

Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating hopes Calgarians can aspire to make positive change in regards to past wrongdoings. He recalled his time as a school teacher and what he wanted young people to remember.

“The idea was you accept all as they are, you lead them to achieve their potential, and then you hope that they and the complete organization will aspire to do better. In this age of reconciliation, we can accept, achieve and aspire as a society,” said Keating.

1 Comment

  1. I see a shining example here, from many. I see the desire to accept truth, facts and change, rather than deny. I see understanding. I see caring. I see responsibility. I see courage. I see a circle of people, from different groups of people (title, position, ages) walking in 1 same direction, if at different paces and within spaces, with shared and understood objectives. I sense respect. This circle of truth is a path for the well being of all. Therefore it is the right one. Concrete measures. Accountability. Acceptance.

    Denial, is one of the most hurtful things one can do to another. Deny integrity. Deny compassion. Deny understanding.

    Leadership requires openness. It never seeks or allows to render others smaller than what they are, to fit held prejudices, motives or faulty/erroneous judgments. It does not seek to maintain control at all times. It does not allow for competition to occur between races. Rather, it understands and encourages that each brings forth strengths that benefit the whole and according to individual need. Leadership, found in every structure, cannot be a role that is suited or held by just anyone. Canada, could make its identity beyond an image, a true reflection of what could be, and of what ‘we’ could be. If we’re willing to learn of one another, of our cultures in all relevant structures/aspects determined by each and not predetermined by another; if we could learn to be more truthful; if we could learn to create space, and allow for the development of structures that respect personal boundaries as they vary from one culture to another. I really do believe we could become what I believe Canada has always wanted to be. Prosperous and successful. Green may be the color of money, but the 4 colors of the medicine wheel comprise all the gifts/elements, that all, are capable of providing. Not to be interchangeable with exploitation. Acceptance of holistic perspectives and approaches as they may apply. We can be a healthier country by recognizing/ not competing and certainly not by appropriating for profiting.

    A good set of ears, goes a long way, as does a heart, to set good intentions in motions.

    I don’t need to see a country go up in flames. I need to see a country that can withstand the heat.

    An ace in the hole, would be to embrace and adjust a more just and representative perspective towards spoken languages. Where in the Census did it ask if we were learning a new language and which one. Nowhere. Are there biases? Yes there are. Get rid of those. As is, there is and has always been exclusion in terms of allotted value and merit. What are the official languages? Why? We should be BOASTING of the diversity that is and has always been. Naming and recognizing them all.

    There should be no competition between our races/ identities. Don’t show me a census of the results of the language most spoken in a format that limited information sharing, where you made me choose. Be fair, and depict the strengths of our diversity/ our knowledge and the cultures that matter to us and describe us best. According to who we are, as we evolve. All throughout life, we evolve.

    Make us an inclusive country where we can truly say, we are PROUD of, and value, every single individual that form the 4 parts of the medicine wheel. Are we equals yet? Do we treat one another as equals with the very same value. We literally could be an example of what a diversified, vibrant and successful nation is, at the exclusion of none (“others”). We need to value those who are already here, for who they are. That means making room. Creating space. We need to care about what each community needs to be happy. Race by race. Community by community, redefined. Then we need to build the vision that each wants. I envision, not segregation, but communities. LARGE, vibrant, healthy, HAPPY, secure communities, each unique in its way of living/ being. I envision consulted and consent obtained before any plans made among these. I envision that I could move around within a region, and be a guest versus thinking we need to travel abroad to experience different cultures. We are right here. Wouldn’t that be a great Canada?

    Intentional, dished out hardships, have the ability to make the unconsensual recipients strongER. However, injustice can create a root of anger like any other root that takes hold, based on what it receives. History would say that violence and control address societal anger and the dis–ease it wants to convey. It is the wrong way. And I don’t care to see what happens if this country starts being viewed as weak and cracking at the seams.

    We are one.
    And we are S T R O N G.
    Some would tell you, they’ve had to be
    I would tell you, it really wasn’t and nearly isn’t humanely possible
    Look around you. New eyes.
    You’ll see
    you’re surrounded by strong people

    There’s missing love in this country.

    ———-> ? ? ———–> .//

    It’s been missing since the beginning. It’s been missing all along.
    Taught.
    Mislead.
    Unaware of many things.
    Misguided.
    Unintelligent thinking if you’re able for 2 seconds to fundamentally place yourself in another’s shoes.
    Highly misinformed.
    Unwilling.
    Uninterested.
    Unfair.
    Untrue.
    ———–> And here we are. <————-
    Looking at the unbelievable.

    And the thing that is missing, is the very first building block to any relationship.
    And I think it's time we build.

    From the top, to the middle, to the bottom requires changes. Like a tree, from winter to spring. The roots are awake/ alive/ knowing. They've always known. These are the Indigenous Nations. We acted and have been acting like a tree in winter. Cold. You fill in the rest, and tell me what a tree is like in winter. What purpose it serves. The leaves begin to open. Everywhere, on the tree. The middle, the top, the lower part. These are the people. You tell me what happens to a tree in Spring and what purpose it serves. And to who.

    Old things are about to pass.
    Time. Will not be rushed.
    By anyone.

    OUR resiliency is about to be tested.
    Canada
    Sorrow that will be felt in spades.

    But…
    In the end:
    Stronger, together. Diversified. Respected. Esteemed. And happy. For all.
    Don't give up Canada.

    As all countries do, they are watching.
    Some with compassion, some with not
    For Canada.
    For you,
    For me

    Before the peace, there will be sorrow. In the sorrow, there will be strength. And a people that need and will heal. There is a diverse circle around you. And as always, there is your own.

    Canada/ canadians, your spirits as well, will bend by the weight, as it comes and as it should. As we bend, others spirits will lift. That is the purpose in this cycle, for this time.

    Share compassion.
    Gain understanding.
    Extend your hand in friendship down the road.

    It's time.

    Buckle up. We are about to face our past, for many generations of hurt, today.

    I wish ALL relevant leadership, on a human to human basis: courage.
    When it is all said and done,
    we are, are we not
    to believe,

    that
    we are all

    human
    Today.

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