An Edmonton arts school celebrated National Aboriginal Day by replacing its outdated sports team logo with an updated mural.
Victoria School of the Arts' sports teams were called the Redmen up until 2011, when the school deemed the former logo racist and removed it from use. But paintings of the former logo remained in the school gymnasium until Tuesday, when the school held a ceremony to cover them with new symbolic pieces of art.
Student Hayden Amero recalls seeing the old logos for the first time, saying it felt like an attack on her Métis heritage.
“It was like a stab. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not accurate at all,'" Amero told Metro News.
Amero, who is enrolled in the school's aboriginal studies class, worked with an artist and local indigenous leader to create the pieces.
The murals, titled "Many Voices," are in the shape of a turtle's shell. The paintings inside represent voices and stories of indigenous people.
Hundreds of students in the gymnasium cheered as the new art was unveiled.
"One of our goals in this project was to reclaim and transform this space by removing a stereotypical view of cultural identity and replacing it with something more honest, truthful and meaningful," artist AJA Louden, who worked with the students on the designs, told CBC News.
“The mural, for years and years to come, is hopefully going to trigger conversations so students from K-12 can come and look at the mural and talk about it,” aboriginal studies teacher Harley Morris told Global News.
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The Indigenous Art Park is located in Edmonton's Queen Elizabeth Park on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. It opens in 2018. “The profound legacy left by our Kôhkominawak (our Grandmothers) and Kimosôminawak (our Grandfathers) is one of the sacred areas used to cross Kisiskâcêwansîpî (Saskatchewan River), where many ceremonies and rituals took place before crossing this majestic sanctuary," said Elder Jerry Saddleback in a release.
Iskotew by Amy Malbeuf
Mikikwan by Duane Linklater
Turtle by Jerry Whitehead
preparing to cross the river by Marianne Nicholson
Reign by MaryAnn Barkhouse
Pehonan by Tiffany Shaw-Collinge
Six artworks symbolizing Edmonton’s rich Indigenous history were unveiled on April 12, 2016. The artists created their artwork proposals following an in-depth workshop with Elders, Indigenous knowledge holders, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, the Métis Nation of Alberta and other Indigenous residents in Edmonton in 2015.