Western Canada high changes Redmen to Redhawks

Sports teams from Calgary's Western Canada High School will no longer be known as the Redmen. Instead, they are the Redhawks. The school bowed to pressure from aboriginal elders and others who say the former name is derogatory.

Calgary high school bows to pressure to change controversial sports team name

Western high name change

9 years ago
Duration 1:57
Sports teams from Calgary's Western Canada High School will be known as the Redhawks, not Redmen.

Sports teams from Western Canada High School in Calgary will now be known as the 'Redhawks.'

Until now, school teams have sported the nickname 'Redmen.'

The Calgary Board of Education decided to scrap the name after consulting with aboriginal elders from Treaty 7. The elders said the name — and the accompanying logo depicting a native man — were derogatory. 

The CBE has consulted students, staff and alumni about the name change. Principal Kim Hackman said the new name, Redhawks, was backed by a strong majority and dovetails nicely with the school's colours.

"The red-tailed hawk is a significant hawk in southern Alberta and has some significance in native communities," said Hackman.

"It's a raptor, it's associated with fierceness, strength, vision and that's why it seemed appropriate."

It will cost $200,000 to repaint the gym floor and buy new uniforms for all the teams. The school board will assume the cost.

The term "Redmen" is considered an offensive reference to North American aboriginal people. In the United States, there's been a an ongoing campaign urging the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their name. In the lead up to this year's Super Bowl, the National Congress of American Indians released a video called "Proud to Be," targeting the team's name. 

Principal Kim Hackman and Grade 11 student Mihnea Nitu unveil the new team name and logo. (Devin Heroux/CBC)