November 29, 2023

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New Parkdale college title celebrates beloved native librarian, Indigenous phrase

New Parkdale college title celebrates beloved native librarian, Indigenous phrase

As one half of the brand new title of the previous Queen Victoria Public Faculty in Parkdale, revered native librarian Rita Cox says the brand new moniker is a mix that completely sums up what makes the neighbourhood so nice.

“I believe it is a becoming description of that group,” Cox beforehand instructed CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, of the joint title for a college within the west-end neighbourhood that’s properly referred to as a cultural melting pot. 

“I used to be honoured that they thought of my work and my time locally worthy of this nice tribute. I really feel that I do know that group, I like that group.”

Now the varsity, which was based in 1887, is called Dr. Rita Cox – Kina Minogok Public Faculty, standing as a tribute to Cox and the Black group, in addition to the Indigenous group.

Henry Pitawanakwat, who works as a translator for the Translation Bureau of the federal authorities, was consulted as a part of the change. He instructed CBC Information that Kina Minogok interprets to “all is rising properly.”

He stated the phrase stands as a metaphor for youngsters as seeds, rising in a well-tended backyard.

“In the event you nurture the backyard and also you care for your backyard and you place your coronary heart into it, you are going to get crop,” he stated.

The Toronto District Faculty Board says new signage for the varsity has been ordered. (Toronto District Faculty Board)

Being a part of the brand new title is necessary, he stated, with Indigenous communities striving to revive languages which were pushed to the aspect via colonialism.

“It is a very small step, but it surely’s progress … our language was forcibly taken from us via residential faculties. Our [grandparents and parents] weren’t allowed to make use of the language. They have been punished for utilizing the language. So it got here very near extinction,” he stated.

“Our youngsters have misplaced their identification, so it is essential to carry again the language.”

Pushing again in opposition to colonialism was a part of the impetus behind the title change, say members of the native Black Pupil Success Committee, which helped advocate for a swap.

LISTEN | Rita Cox says she is honoured by title change:

Metro Morning7:47From royalty to group queen: Queen Victoria Public Faculty renamed after native librarian

Dr. Rita Cox is a former Kids’s Librarian and Head Librarian of the Parkdale Department of the Toronto Public Library.

Ideas of making an attempt for a change first took root again in 2020, stated committee co-founder and co-chair Tania Daly. On the time, heaps was occurring on a world scale when it got here to dismantling colonialism, she stated.

This was additionally the identical yr the Toronto District Faculty Board apologized for not doing extra to deal with what it stated was “clearly an incident of anti-Black racism” on the college.

“I assumed, ‘You realize what? We have to reclaim this area,'” Daly stated. “We had gone via a lot, and the children can’t be it if they can’t see it. So why not contemplate renaming the varsity?” she stated.

In Cox, the varsity is now named partially after somebody with deep roots locally. She spent 40 years as a librarian, and launched literacy applications and different initiatives that promoted multiculturalism in Toronto, together with the Parkdale Intercultural Affiliation and the Parkdale preschool program. 

Cox stated she considers herself a storyteller above all else — and notes {that a} library is about extra than simply books, it is also about group and folks.

“I’m completely satisfied to be thought of a part of that group. I nonetheless imagine it is without doubt one of the biggest communities we’ve within the metropolis,” she stated.