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Winnipeg moves on from Bishop Grandin, formally introduces Abinojii Mikanah

Goodbye, Bishop Grandin Boulevard, hello Abinojii Mikanah.

The City of Winnipeg formally changed the name of the 10-kilometre expressway, also known as Route 165, on Friday — National Indigenous Peoples Day — after signs with the new name first began going up last month.

City council voted unanimously to change the name in March 2023, after a reconsideration of the legacy of the road’s namesake, Catholic Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, who died in 1902.

Grandin was identified in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada as an architect of the nation’s residential school system.

The new name, Abinojii Mikanah, means “the children’s road” in Anishinaabemowin, and recognizes the experiences of residential school survivors as well as children who never made it home.

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“Abinojii Mikanah is a tribute to the strength and resilience of Indigenous communities,” said Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham, who took part in a formal name-change ceremony Friday alongside Indigenous leaders and elders, as well as municipal officials.

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“As a city, we are committed to continuing our journey of reconciliation and to building a more inclusive and respectful future for all Winnipeggers.”

Anishinaabe knowledge keeper Frank Beaulieu, Bear Clan, Sandy Bay First Nation, said the name was first discussed at the time of the 2021 discovery of unmarked graves at a former residential school in British Columbia.

That discovery reopened a national conversation about residential schools and their legacy.

“I think the name will bring people of all races and cultures together,” Beaulieu said.

“I believe our children and grandchildren unborn will walk in a humble way with humility, respect and love for one another.”

In addition to the former Bishop Grandin Boulevard, the city has also endorsed the changing of Bishop Grandin Trail to Awasisak Mēskanôw and Grandin Street to Taapweewin Way.

Click to play video: 'Bishop Grandin name change update'

Bishop Grandin name change update

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