Don’t be too hasty to rename schools

Instead of renaming schools, we should educate students about the legacy behind their current names – good and bad

Don’t be too hasty to rename schoolsIf some petitioners get their way, Cecil Rhodes School will be no more. The Winnipeg school would still exist, but under a new name. No doubt most Canadians who hear about this have one burning question: Who is Cecil Rhodes? Rhodes was a 19th-century British politician who served as prime minister of Cape Colony, a…

May my grandchildren never hear the E-word again

It's been a long time coming, but the Edmonton CFL team's name change was the right thing to do, says Inuk writer and researcher

May my grandchildren never hear the E-word againIt’s a good day in Edmonton. It’s a good day in Canada. It’s a good day for Inuit. After all the years that I and other Inuit Canadians have complained about the name of Edmonton’s team in the Canadian Football League, it’s good to know the franchise has finally decided it will no longer be…

Louis Riel’s trial continues 135 years later

Riel's transformation from rebel traitor to cultural icon hasn't come without backlash, says U of A professor

Louis Riel’s trial continues 135 years laterOne hundred and thirty-five years ago on July 20, Canada put Louis Riel on trial for high treason for precipitating the North West Resistance (traditionally called the North West Rebellion in mainstream settler history). Today, Riel is considered one of Canada’s most popular figures, easily eclipsing the country’s founding prime minister and his nemesis, John A. Macdonald. The political metamorphosis of Riel illustrates…

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s folly

Judging by the amount of money at stake, and cabinet and family involvement, this may be the largest scandal in Canadian history

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s follyYou learn a lot about people’s ethics when money is involved. Even really rich people can take the wrong route for money. The current Trudeau family scandal may be a litmus test. Mother, brother and wife received fees from a charity that received federal government funds. This may be how Justin Trudeau will be remembered,…

Reshaping our understanding of Western Canada

U of A historian Sarah Carter’s decades of research has led to reconsideration of what it means to be Canadian

Reshaping our understanding of Western CanadaWhen Sarah Carter was a university student in Saskatchewan in the 1970s, she, like others of her generation, wondered why Western Canadian history texts were so often exclusionary, ignoring certain populations – particularly women and Indigenous peoples – while favouring conventional, male-dominated narratives. Summer jobs at Fort Walsh and Fort Battleford in Saskatchewan made her…

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we try

If historical figures with 2020 attitudes could be found, renaming familiar streets and place names wouldn’t be so daunting

We can’t obliterate history, no matter how hard we tryWinnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman is determined to pursue his name game – renaming, removing and rewriting history. Among his targets is Bishop Grandin Boulevard – the mayor doesn’t like the late Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin’s attitudes. If Bowman succeeds, the next logical renaming would be St. Vital – also named after Grandin, who was an important…

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging times

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book for these troubled times. It’s as beautiful as it is insightful

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging timesIt’s always good to rediscover an excellent book, especially in these times. I recently borrowed The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz from my local library to have an audio book to listen to when going for walks with my dog. What a treasure! Ruiz draws from his Indigenous heritage, teaching the ancient wisdom of…

A place of reconciliation and pride

The process can include something as simple as discovering and using the ancient name for where you live

A place of reconciliation and prideAs we continue to hunker down in our Sunshine Coast house to avoid COVID-19, and come to emotional grips with the pandemic, it’s wonderful to have good news. We got some today. I just saw a new road sign go up in what has been called Saltery Bay since the early 1900s. Fair enough, you…

When reconciliation defies the common good

In a democracy, politicians need to balance various interests. Indigenous needs can’t always come first

When reconciliation defies the common goodTen years ago, Douglas Bland, a retired lieutenant-colonel from the Canadian Forces and the chair of Defence Studies at Queen’s University, published Uprising: A Novel. In this 500-page work of fiction, Bland outlines how militant Indigenous warriors and their allies could, in the tradition of Louis Riel, hold Canada up for ransom, stopping rail traffic, blocking…

We must face up to Canada’s dark past

Telling our Indigenous people to ‘get over it’ comes dangerously close to outright genocide denial

We must face up to Canada’s dark pastAs tensions have mounted in Canada in recent months over land claims and Indigenous rights, I’ve heard and read many variations of the phrase, “The Indigenous just need to get over it.” I wonder if the people who embrace this view really know what they’re saying. It reflects complete ignorance of the history of Canada…
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