In the first of what will no doubt be a number of such renaming’s, the Halton District School Board Trustees selected Makwendam Public School as the new name for Ryerson Public School, located at 565 Woodview Road in Burlington. This name was unanimously supported by all Trustees. The new name will take effect immediately and a plan will be developed to make changes to school signage, website, sports uniforms, etc.
The name Makwendam, pronounced muck-kwen-dum, is the Indigenous word for “to remember” in the Anishinaabemowin language. In their discussions, Trustees considered that this name would honour the reason for renaming the school, that is, Egerton Ryerson’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system. There have been growing calls to remove Ryerson’s name from public buildings and institutions and the HDSB has received formal requests to remove Ryerson’s name from the school.
“The choice of Makwendam Public School speaks directly to the purpose of renaming Ryerson Public School – as we as a country search for the lost children on residential school lands, we must remember, we must learn and be better,” says Andréa Grebenc, Chair of the Halton District School Board. “The Halton District School Board is committed to Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness, as outlined in our Strategic Multi-Year Plan commitments. We look forward to hearing the results of the City of Burlington’s naming process for the adjacent park.”
At the Board meeting, Trustees heard from Evan Rochon, a Grade 6 student at Ryerson Public School. In his delegation to the Trustees, Evan supported the name Makwendam.
The naming process began in September to ensure the parent/guardian, student and the broader community had the opportunity to provide input. In total, more than 1,200 names were submitted.