Board votes to change school's 'Redmen' name
Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014 7:05AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, March 6, 2014 9:09AM CST
A Saskatoon high school will have a new team name and logo when school starts this fall.
Public school board trustees voted 8-2 Tuesday night to end the use of the “Redmen” team name and logo at Bedford Road Collegiate in response to calls that the name was racist and served to stereotype First Nations people.
“More people, especially a new and young generation, might see more positive benefits if we move forward and change the logo for Bedford Road,” said board chair Ray Morrison, one of those who voted to “respectfully retire” the name and logo that features the profile of a First Nations man wearing a headdress.
The name originally referred to the red uniforms athletes wore when the school opened in the 1920s. The logo first came into use during the 1960s and received alterations several times in recent decades.
The decision was welcomed by those who had been pushing for the change.
“To me my memories of Bedford were of friends and teachers and learning experiences. Not that logo and not that name,” said Erica Lee, a leader of an online campaign to change the name.
Speakers during Tuesday night’s meeting were passionate on both sides of the issue. One said “names and logos such as the one at Bedford Road are oppressive and perpetuate violence” while another offered that “at no point in my life have I seen the Redmen mascot as disrespectful term.”
Most trustees agreed that the time had come to change the name.
"Am I doing a disservice to students who are attending Bedford Road now and in the future by retaining the name and logo? I think we would be,” said trustee Darrell Utley.
Trustee Bronwyn Eyre said there had been “no significant groundswell leading up to tonight’s meeting in support of retaining the name and the logo.”
The only dissenting votes came from trustees Donna Banks and Kevin Waugh.
“So many other people that I have talked to, they take such great pride and they are so proud to be a Redmen,” Banks said.