Rename Bishop Grandin High School in Calgary

Rename Bishop Grandin High School in Calgary

June 14, 2020
Petition to
Cathie Williams, Trustee and 7 others
This petition made change with 4,084 supporters!

Why this petition matters

Started by Cara Carter

Vital Justin Grandin was one of the primary individuals involved in the proliferation and support of Residential Schools. His involvement was cited in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which concluded Grandin "led the campaign for residential schooling."

Grandin was part of the force that tore apart families and caused irreparable damage to the Indigenous people in Canada. As part of continuing justice and ensuring that our Catholic community’s beliefs are reflected in the school district’s policies and programs, we solidly believe that we need to rename Calgary's Bishop Grandin High School as soon as possible.

This would honour Canada's quest for Truth and Reconciliation, set an example for our youth that misdeeds and injustice must be corrected, that it is our duty to acknowledge and correct these misdeeds, and allow our children to graduate with a name on a certificate that does not commemorate our country's racist history. If we truly reject racism and discrimination, we cannot let this name stand. 

We know better now. We can do better now.

Please help me send a message to the Trustees of the Calgary Catholic School District that this school must be renamed by signing this petition.


Bishop Grandin was a facilitator and passionate participant in Residential Schools, and we believe the honourific of his name on this institution should be removed in the spirit of reconciliation, and in the act of love towards the members of our community and our faith. 

I would like to request that we begin the process for renaming Bishop Grandin High School with a goal to unveil the new name on or before Orange Shirt Day September 30, 2021. 

This change is requested to honour and respect all the FNMI members of Canada, especially those who are included in the CSSD student body, past and present. Students impacted by the intergenerational trauma caused by Residential Schools in Canada should not be made to attend a school named in honour of one of the architects of the Residential School system. It was acknowledged that this process may reveal more school names need to be audited in the future for the same reason. The renaming audits should also heavily involve members of the FNMI communities, including the Treaty 7 Nations, Metis Nation and Inuit Nations in Calgary. 

It was emphasized that the CSSD is being given the opportunity to be leaders in the Canadian Educational system by moving forward and addressing the TRC Calls to Action. We are also called to this action of Reconciliation as Catholics, Parents and Educators.

In meetings previously with Daniel Danis, we have brought forward:

Ongoing and Recent Examples of Decolonization Initiatives in Canada

·       Edmonton - Oliver Community

·       Victoria - Statue Removal

·       schools in Manitoba are now doing a full audit of their names

·       Queen’s University renaming of John A. McDonald Building (this has occurred after meetings with Mr. Danis)

·       Rename Langevin Block, the building that houses the Prime Minister’s Offices

·            Rename Langevin School by Calgary Board of Education

·            Rename of the Bishop Grandin LRT mural in Edmonton (including covering the mural depicting him)

·            Call from Grand Chief Garisson Settee to rename streets and schools named after those who have caused harm to Indigenous People

History and Resources
Residential Schools have been declared a cultural genocide. It was also a physical genocide with 42% of attendees estimated to have perished. We provided educational material and links to the following:

·       The Truth & Reconciliation Council TRC: The History (this volume details Bishop Grandin’s history)

·       TRC: The Metis Experience:

·       Calls to Action:

 ·       Chief Justice: Cultural Genocide:

·       Reconciliation and What it means:

Shattering the Silence - The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools :

Residential School Survivor Stories:

Government of Canada Declarations
Official Apology from the Government of Canada:

Statements from former PM Paul Martin on obligations to Canada's Indigenous Peoples:

Papal support
Papal Audience Meeting 2009:

Bishop Grandin’s history with Residential Schools
It is indisputable documented fact that Bishop Grandin was involved in the development and implementation of Catholic-run Residential Schools in Western Canada.

Bishop Grandin based IR School design on French prisons (page 22): They Came For the Children TRC:

TRC: Canada's Residential Schools The History:

Grandin’s own writings

Quotations from Bishop Grandin’s writing regarding “who will have no traces of the Indian but the blood. …  wherein I could admit all the little Indians they would give me, we could advance civilization.”

CSSD Policies with FNIM
This is the opportunity to show that this is a serious priority for the CSSD. 

·       One of four pillars set out by the district in their annual reports

·       Aboriginal Education Policy (Administrative Procedure 203)

CSSD’s own Three year report  

-          Wellness Priority Focal Point #2: To promote and support diverse cultures and racial justice

-          Indigenous Education Priority Focal Point #2 To embrace and support Indigenous students’ success and belonging.

CSSD Policies for renaming
Currently there is only a School Naming policy, it is proposed that a Renaming Policy would follow the same procedures and is linked as such below.


With all of this knowledge, it is time to remove the honourific “Bishop Grandin” from the high school and rename it. Our values are reflected in those we honour with naming, and currently, we are wrongfully honouring one responsible for so much hate and loss by continuing to have an educational institution for children named for Grandin. 

This high school was named while residential schools were still in operation. The socio political climate in 2020 has evolved and decolonization is an important step forward in Reconciliation and would address some of the Calls to Action identified by the TRC.

The newly renamed high school could contain an “education center” to educate about the history of the school and previous name of Bishop Grandin, with the history of residential schools and the horrors of their existence in Canadian history. 

Suggested Readings/Courses for CSSD policy and decision makers:
·       White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

·       Me And White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

·       How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

·       A National Crime by John S. Milloy

·       Indigenous Canada via Coursera

·       Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and the Metis by Raymond Huel 

·     The Calgary Public Library curated Indigenous Reading List: Truth and Reconciliation reading list:



This petition made change with 4,084 supporters!

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Decision Makers

  • Cathie Williams, Trustee
  • Cheryl Low, Trustee
  • Linda Wellman, Trustee
  • Lori Iovinelli, Trustee
  • Mary Martin, Trustee