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Janine Windolph

The school board for Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon passed a motion to change the school sport’s team name and logo on March 4, 2014.

 

Saskatoon Public School Board chair Ray Morrison voted in favour in changing the name, the Redmen, and the logo, a picture of a braided First Nations warrior with feathers in his hair.

 

“As a board we thought long and hard. In my view, based on the information gathered, we need to find a way to move forward rather than getting stuck on the past,” said Morrison.

 

 

The Bedford name and logo change raises the question of whether other schools, like Balfour Collegiate in Regina, should change its team name—also the Redmen.  

 

Janine Windolph, a First Nations woman originally from La Ronge now living in Regina, attended Bedford Road and Balfour Collegiate back in the 1990’s.

 

“The pressure will be there to change the name especially as First Nations people get more educated you will start to see those kinds of changes,” said Windolph.

 

Windolph said this isn’t the first time this issue has come up. When she attended Bedford Road, she actually participated in rallies to save their high school sports name and logo. She said it was more than only a name, to her it had a deeper meaning.

 

“It is a team spirit, when you’re cheering ‘Redmen Redmen...’you don’t think they’re being racist at the time, your actually thinking ‘go team,’” said Windolph.

 

This topic has been an issue for many years for Saskatoon’s high school. Windolph said she remembers being approached by reporters asking her if she was offended by the school sports name.

 

“At the time I wasn’t offended (they) had the assumption we were all feeling oppressed racism when we weren’t feeling nothing at the time. (The media responded) that’s an oppressive name and we should feel oppressed,” said Windolph.

 

Windolph said there will likely be a ripple effect to change the school name for Balfour Collegiate in Regina.

 

Terry Lazarou, Regina Public School Board communications supervisor,  said other than journalists, there hasn’t been a lot of interest in the Balfour community about their sports name.

 

Lazarou said if it comes down to it, they will ensure proper steps will be taken to serve the Balfour is culturally sensitive.

 

“The school division and the administration are working with a group of First Nations and Métis elders with the school trustees to consult on whether the ‘Redmen’ name is appropriate. (The) school administration will make a decision as to the next steps will be,” said Lazarou.