Ottawa

Arnprior school removes Redmen logo, may change team name

A high school west of Ottawa has dropped the logo for its Arnprior Redmen football team because of concerns it may be offensive, and the name may also be replaced.
The name Redmen was originally chosen to reflect the school colours. Aboriginal imagery added to logos and jerseys later on have since been removed. (CBC)

A high school west of Ottawa has dropped the logo for its Arnprior Redmen football team because of concerns it may be offensive, and the name may also be replaced.

The sports teams at Arnprior District High School are known as the Redmen. (CBC)
Neil Farmer, the principal at Arnprior District High School, told CBC News the school has been operating for nearly 140 years and has had the Redmen name for about 100 years.

The name was originally chosen because of school colours and had nothing to do with aboriginal people, Farmer said.

But several years ago, the senior members of the football team added the arrowhead logo to their helmets. 

The image has since been removed.

The school may also change the name of its sports teams, but the principal said it's still being discussed.

'We feel as a school it's our job to consider it,' principal says

Ian Campeau says the team's name should change. (Skype)
"We feel as a school it's our job to consider it ... and to try to be as respectful as possible to everybody," Farmer said, adding that the discussion has been an emotional one on both sides of the issue.

The school was recently contacted through the social media website Twitter by Ian Campeau, a member of the DJ group A Tribe Called Red.

Last year he pressured the Nepean Redskins into changing their name, and he said the Arnprior school should follow suit. He said the fact that the school's colour is red doesn't make it acceptable to call the team Redmen.

"Then it would be completely acceptable to have black jerseys and call the team the Black Men. And see how problematic that could be," Campeau said.

'It's commodifying culture,' Campeau says

"It's not an honour at all. It's exploitation. It's commodifying culture."

Benjamin Dagg, a student at Arnprior District High School, said he doesn't think the school was trying to offend anyone.

"I just know that they weren't meaning to offend anyone ... and they are right now trying to make it so that they make sure it that it's not offending anyone. Because there were a few images that had been associated with it that have been taken the wrong way," Dagg said.

"But they're taking it down now and and they're changing it. I don't know what they're going to replace it with. It wasn't just one person's decision; it was more of an all-around decision because they realized this needed to change."

The principal said the school hasn't been influenced by outside pressure or complaints.

"We respect the DJ's opinion on things and the work that he's done, but we had taken steps long before that," Farmer said.

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