The City of Edmonton is planning to remove murals depicting the residential school system from the Government Centre LRT station later this fall.
The murals have been covered by orange panelling since city council voted unanimously in favour of obscuring them and removing the reference in the LRT stations name to Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, who was an advocate for the residential school system, in June.
After discussions with the Grandin Working Circle and other stakeholders, the city announced plans to remove the three original sections of the mural in a Thursday press release.
The original mural space will remain covered in orange while the Working Circle continues to determine a new name and vision for the station. Métis Elder and member of Working Circle, Dr. Terry Lusty said the murals which are, “glorifying one of the architects of Canada’s residential school system,” caused distress to survivors and their families.
“With no intent to offend anyone, but in an effort to address the discomfort and re-traumatization of survivors, it was decided to remove the images causing the grief and eventually replace them with more acceptable images that have yet to be determined,” said Lusty in the news release.
The murals were installed on the west wall of what was then known as Grandin LRT Station in 1989 to commemorate Francophone history and heritage in Alberta. The mural included an image of Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin and depicted the residential school system.
Grandin, who lived in St. Albert, lobbied the federal government to invest in the practice of separating Indigenous children from their families and removing them from their culture.
The decision to cover the murals and remove his name from city property came after the discovery of 215 children buried at a former residential school site in Kamloops, in May.
The controversial mural was covered up hours after city council’s vote and crews immediately began removing references to Grandin on maps and signs throughout the transit system.
The artwork installed at Government LRT Station in 2014 by artists Sylvie Nadeau and Aaron Paquette will remain.