Brendan Kyle Jure photo.

UBCO sociology class calls on Kelowna Chiefs to change “derogatory” name

The sociology class sent an email to the media yesterday afternoon

A UBC Okanagan sociology class is calling on the owner of the Kelowna Chiefs to change the team’s name because it’s racially insensitive.

“We’re trying to start a movement,” said student Averia Debungie, who is part of a Sociology of Sport class at the university. She added that the Chilliwack Chiefs removed their mascot and discussions have arisen recently around McGill’s Redmen, so it is a timely discussion.

Westbank First Nation Chief Roxanne Lindley does not find the name offensive, she said in an emailed statement. A Facebook poll conducted by the WFN yesterday also found that 12 members who replied to the survey did not find the name racist.

RELATED: League-leading Kelowna Chiefs playing at the top of their game

“It could also be how they’re not too sure on how (the Kelowna Chiefs are perceived) out here. If they’re in their area and maybe (they don’t know) what it’s like to be a First Nations student at UBC where you do see the racism from outsiders. I think it’s a different perspective,” said Debungie. The WFN’s office council building is 16 km from UBC Okanagan.

The class sent an email to the Capital News yesterday afternoon stating:

“The team logo of an ‘indian’ with two tomahawks springing from his head is offensive and insulting. The logo and club name have no place in our community — a community aiming to respect everyone and taking reconciliatory steps with Indigenous peoples. Therefore, in the spirit of reconciliation and reinventing our relationship with Indigenous peoples across the land, and in the name of decency, respect, and doing the just thing, we call for the removal of both the name and logo. Removing the name and logo would mark a progressive path for the Kelowna hockey team and give it credence as a role model organization in sports teams’ rethinking, rebranding and renaming stereotypical, insulting, and often racial slur names. In moving forward, we hope this letter initiates a conversation/ meeting of those concerned to mitigate this matter and catalyze change within the Kelowna Hockey Junior Club.”

“There’s been movements happening throughout the Canada and U.S. trying to get the names and logos removed. They’re not the ones who have lived that life, and they don’t know what it’s like,” said Debungie.

RELATED: Trudeau to apologize for 1864 hanging of Tsilhqot’in chiefs

Grant Sheridan general manager and owner for the Kelowna Chiefs said he values the opinions of the local bands over the university.

“They sent it to the press and didn’t contact us. In nine years, we’ve had four inquiries, all were responded to and invited to meet and discuss and not one person would take us up on that,” he said. “We’ve talked to the WFN in the past… but it hasn’t been an issue until this letter popped up.”

“I would certainly rather hear from a local, provincial or national band than the student body, so I would suggest that they gather some data and some feedback. We’re open to talk about anything and everything,” he said, adding he was disappointed he wasn’t contacted and the class instead chose to contact local media outlets.

Sheridan said he would “always” be open to changing the team’s name, but it has to be with a purpose and intent.

“It’s not something that one person can just say hey, we don’t like the colour of your vehicle you should change it. There are lots of moving parts there,” he said.

He said there are players, billots and staff that are Aboriginal.

An earlier version of the article said Averia Debungie was a professor, she is a student at UBCO.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Impaired driver blows twice the legal limit

Kelowna RCMP are reminding drivers that counter attack road checks are underway

Kelowna radio hosts aim to get 10,000 items for those in need

B Mack and Karly’s Cold Weather Clothing Drive kicked off Dec. 10, getting cold-weather donations for those in need.

The Rockets are fueled up and ready to win

Rockets kick off four-game trip ahead of Christmas break

UPDATE: Sagmoen to stand trial

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Kelowna driver faces potential charges after alleged impaired driving

The passenger was sent to hospital in critical condition

More snow to kick off the week

The Okanagan and Shuswap will see a light dusting of snow Monday night

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Snowmobile guide killed in accident on Queest Mountain

Shuswap sledding communty mourns loss of experienced Sicamous snowmobiler

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

One of Tori Stafford’s killers transferred to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

Most Read