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Rally held opposing school board’s plan to rename Kelly Road school Shas Ti

Protestors rally outside the School District 57 office Saturday, upset with the board’s plan to rename Kelly Road to Shas Ti in the spirit of indigenous reconciliation. Bill Phillips photo

Clayton Dyck speaks at a rally opposed renaming Kelly Road school Shas Ti. Bill Phillips photo

Reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations or the act of making one belief compatible with another, says Clayton Dyck.

That’s what he, and many people opposed to changing the name of Kelly Road Secondary School to Shas Ti Secondary School, want.

“We want reconciliation,” he told a crowd of about 100 people gathered outside the school district office Saturday to oppose the name change. “Inclusion of everybody.”

The School District 57 board of education unleashed a massive controversy Tuesday when it passed a motion to “begin the process” of naming the new school under construction on the Kelly Road site, to Shas Ti, which, according to the school district, is “in alignment with the ideologies contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Dyck said three generations of his family have attended Kelly Road Senior Secondary.

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“There’s history there, there’s heritage,” he said. “We can understand the people of Lheidli T’enneh were cheated out of their land at Fort George Park, now Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, and that wasn’t right. We now know how they feel, but repeating the history of things is just not right.”

He said he wanted people to come together to find a solution.

“I’ve never seen such division in my community until last week,” he said.

Dyck said he would favour a compromise and incorporate both names, such as Kelly Road Shas Ti Secondary. That suggestion, however, was booed by about half of the people at the rally.

The protestors were urged to make sure they attended the school board meeting when the matter comes before the board again.

The school district still finalizing plans for the engagement process. More information will be updated on sd57.bc.ca as it becomes available.

“Engagement sessions will be educational, participatory, and will seek to hear ideas on how to honour the significant history of Kelly Road Secondary School while recognizing our responsibilities to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action,” according to the school district.

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