Letter: Catholic school board furthers commitment to Truth and Reconcilation

Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools is beginning the school year with some key initiatives to recognize and support the Division’s commitment to furthering their work on Truth and Reconciliation. This includes beginning the work to review and rename Vital Grandin Catholic School. Renaming this school is a critical step towards ongoing reconciliation, healing, and meaningful change.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename the school at Special Meeting of the Board held on June 28, 2021. Today, a committee met for the first time to begin the discussions to rename the school to reflect the values that Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools is a faith and learning community that welcomes all. The ten-member committee includes representatives from the school community, local parish, Division administration, and the Board of Trustees. The mandate of the committee is to make a recommendation to the Board by September 30, 2021 for three possible naming options.

In addition, the school division is moving ahead with an update to the 2021-22 Division Calendar to recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day by making September 30 a division-wide holiday. The community reached out to our division in support of the importance of recognizing this day, now established as a new federal statutory holiday in response to the TRC’s call to action number 80, which calls on the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process. It is our hope that staff and our families take the time on this date to recognize the history of residential schools, as part of their personal commitment to the reconciliation process. Adjustments to the Division calendar will be made to ensure that the number of instructional days is maintained.

Earlier this summer, Board Chair Radford commented that “As a division, we remain committed to understanding and carrying out the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada Calls to Action (2015), We will continue to work proactively and intentionally with our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.” The renaming of Vital Grandin Catholic School and recognizing September 30 as a statutory holiday are key steps in the Division’s ongoing journey toward meaningful reconciliation with our Indigenous communities.

submitted by Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools 

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