North

Fort Simpson does away with colonial school names

Education officials announced that Bompas Hall Elementary School and Thomas Simpson High School had been renamed to Liidlii Kue Elementary and Liidlii Kue Regional High School.

Bompas Hall and Thomas Simpson Secondary School are now Liidlii Kue Elementary and High School

The community celebrated the name change last week with a feast. (Submitted by Marty Leach)

Two schools in Fort Simpson, N.W.T., have shed their colonial names for Indigenous names.

Last week, education officials announced that Bompas Hall Elementary School and Thomas Simpson Secondary School have been renamed to Liidlii Kue Elementary and Liidlii Kue Regional High School. 

Liidlii Kue means "place where two rivers meet" in the Dehcho Dene language. It is also the community's traditional name.

Marty Leach, the principal of both schools, said there was a ribbon cutting ceremony and feast in Fort Simpson last week to celebrate the change.

"I think it's more about going back to using the Indigenous language and what it stands for," he said.

"We had a stew and bannock and did a little ceremony."

Thomas Simpson was a Scottish explorer who led an expedition through the western section of the Northwest Passage. (NWT Archives)

Thomas Simpson school first opened in 1960 and was named after the Arctic explorer who led an expedition through the western section of the Northwest Passage in the 1830s.

The Anglican-run Bompas Hall also opened in 1960. It was originally a residential hostel for children around the North to live while attending the Thomas Simpson School. Bompas Hall was named after William Carpenter Bompas, the first bishop of the Athabasca, Mackenzie River and Selkirk dioceses in the late 1800s. It became a secular day school in 1969 when it was taken over by the Northwest Territories government.

Leach says the schools have new signs but he is waiting for a second sign for the high school. 

The Dehcho Divisional Education Authority could not be reached for comment. 

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