University of Regina cheerleaders who took anti-racism training after dressing up as "cowboys and Indians" seemed confused at first but overall were receptive to the message, their instructors say.
Last month, a picture of the students wearing stereotypical costumes was posted on social media, sparking a massive response from people who said it was offensive.
As a result, cheerleaders were told to take sensitivity training with two professors, Michael Cappello, who's with the education faculty, and Shauneen Pete, the executive lead for indigenization at the University of Regina.
Pete says at first, the 12 students were confused about what they had done wrong.
"They couldn't connect the visual imagery that they were playing out with some sort of stereotype — that seemed to be a real gap, I think, generally."
The training focused on what racism is and how it impacts society. Pete says she thinks it was a positive experience for all involved.
"I think they were quite good about saying, 'This is about education, this is about our learning. They are going to have us do some reflection and we are going to be accountable,'" she said.
While progress was made, a two-hour education session cannot cure racism, they said — it's something that has to be worked on every day.