ALBERTA
02/06/2014 02:08 EST | Updated 02/06/2014 02:59 EST

Racist Redmen High School Logo Needs To Be Dropped, Says Group

Bedford Road Collegiate

A Saskatoon group wants Bedford Road Collegiate high school teams to reconsider calling themselves Redmen, saying the name is racist.

In a heated meeting earlier this week, school board trustees were told the name and logo are disrespectful to First Nations people.

“Bottom line the name is racist, it’s not about being politically correct, it’s racist, that’s it,” Dion Tootoosis, the man behind the push, told Global News.

“There are many cultures within aboriginal peoples and we’re not all warriors and we certainly can’t be marketed, we can’t be sold,” he continued.

According to CTV, speakers at the meeting said the name and logo, which features a profile of a First Nations man, creates a hostile environment for indigenous students and a negative image for the school.

Former Bedford student Andrez Bear told the board he was discriminated against after he brought a sign to a school tournament reading "We are people, not mascots." He told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix he was booed by the crowd.

According to Global News, the school's teams have carried the name Redmen since 1923, when teams wore all-red uniforms. In the 1960s the logo was introduced.

The fight to change the logo has been on-going for three years, campaign activist Erica Lee told CTV News, and despite pleas from academics, students and parents at the school, the board said they will take time to gather more input for other schools and community organizations.

Last fall the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan issued a statement asking schools to stop using Indigenous people as mascots, logos, slogans and team names.

Even the Star Phoenix editorial board called on the school to change the Redmen name, arguing, "it's difficult to comprehend how trustees can decide other than to retire a name and logo that carry a "noble savage" connotation that cannot be justified in a school division that espouses the principles of cultural inclusiveness and tolerance."

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