Cecil Rhodes School in Winnipeg has a new name

After years of discussion around Cecil Rhodes School’s controversial name, the Winnipeg School Division has landed on a new name for the school.

On Wednesday, the WSD announced the board of trustees have approved the name for the school – Keewatin Prairie Community School.

The name change will take effect at the beginning of September, with new signage to go up at the school as well.

“We’re very pleased to have a name that was chosen based on careful consideration and acknowledgement of the Truth and Reconciliation process,” Betty Edel, Chair of the WSD Board of Trustees, said in a news release. “We took the time necessary to ensure that changing the name of Cecil Rhodes was a community decision, and that the appropriate stakeholders were consulted and included in the choice of the new name.”

It has been nearly two years since the division first tabled a motion in September 2020 to begin the consultation process on the renaming. The school’s former namesake, Cecil Rhodes, was a prominent 19th-century British figure whose policies paved the way for apartheid in South Africa.

The new name – Keewatin Prairie Community School – identifies the school’s geographical location and honours the Cree and Ojibwe languages, the division said in a news release.

“Both Keewatin and Prairie were a popular recommendation among survey responses,” the division said. “Students at the school, who are proud to be residents of the prairies, also acknowledge that the word prairie represents growth and a connection to nature and Indigenous ways.”

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