Ryerson's president says "the statue will not be restored or replaced."
On Sunday, Ryerson University's Egerton statue was pulled down after a rally that took place in downtown Toronto. The Bring Our Children Home March was held in response to the 215 children whose remains were recently discovered by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation at the former residential school in Kamloops.
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Egerton Ryerson is considered one of the key architects of Canada's residential school system, and petitions and motions have been made to take down the statue in the past, reports the Eyeopener. However, according to Ryerson's President Mohamed Lachemi, the toppled statue "will not be restored or replaced."
"The statue will not be restored or replaced. The question of the statue was only one of many being considered by the Standing Strong (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win) Task Force, whose mandate includes consideration of the university's name, responding to the legacy of Egerton Ryerson, and other elements of commemoration on campus," wrote Lachemi.
"Their work is now more important than ever. I ask our community to respect their work and to engage with them as we should engage with all matters at our university - through dialogue, debate and the exchange of ideas."
The university's First Nation-led research centre, the Yellowhead Institute, published an open letter last month saying that faculty and students will be referring to the university as 'X University' on social media and in their email signatures to stand in solidarity with the school's Indigenous community.
An Instagram page dedicated to their activism posted a photo of the toppled statue yesterday with the caption, "Bury the colonizer, find the children. After listening to survivors today in front of the statue on the Bring the Children Home march, this feels like Justice."
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-925-4419.
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