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

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.