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

WATCH: Animal rights activist defends Monday’s Ribfest protest

Amy Soranno was one of seven activtists that chained themselves to a bank to protest Ribfest

Sponsors needed to help Kelowna families this season

Okanagan Boys and Girls Club “Adopt-A-Family” program kicks off for another year

Kelowna RCMP need 56 more officers by 2025: report

The additional officers would cost the city nearly $10 million

Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame welcomes 6 new inductees

Okanagan athletes and sports pioneers were added to the HOF Thursday

Pedestrian hit on corner of Burtch Road and Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna

Man has since been released with minor injuries

Get your head out of clouds, North Okanagan

Fall fog sticks around all day in northern portion of valley

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Keremeos Fire Department acquires new truck

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves fire truck purchases for Keremeos, Willowbrook

Wharton Street in Summerland open for traffic once again

Road closure had been in place for past five months for upgrade work

Most Read