An elder and residential school survivor known as a ‘lifelong learner who has dedicated his life to serving others’ is the namesake of Edmonton’s new southeast public high school.
Edmonton Public Schools (EPSB) announced Tuesday afternoon the school will be named Elder Dr. Francis Whiskeyjack School.
Whiskeyjack, who serves as an advisor at amiskwaciy Academy and as an elder with First Peoples’ House at the University of Alberta, has also worked in those capacities at a number of other community organizations, including Alberta Health Services, MacEwan University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Concordia University.
“It’s something that reflects the change of a positive life that I’ve made from being a survivor of a residential school to being able to establish and connect with people in this world that I never thought possible,” Whiskeyjack said in a media release.
Whiskeyjack’s name was one of 353 submitted to the school board for consideration. The member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation is a longtime mentor and advocate for students in the city, EPSB chair Trisha Estabrooks said.
“It is truly an honour to name this new high school after such an inspiring and accomplished individual,” Estabrooks said. “Through this school naming, his kindness and commitment to inclusivity will inspire future generations.”
Elder Dr. Francis Whiskeyjack School, located near the corner of 17 Street and 23 Avenue Northwest next to The Meadows Community Recreation Centre, is due to open in September 2024.