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Bedford Road "Redmen," It's Time for a Change


by Justin Wiebe

Bedford Road "Redmen," It's Time for a Change

About a year ago a close friend of mine started up Bedford Road “Redmen”, It’s Time for a Change on facebook (please check it out, and like it if you haven’t already).The page immediately stirred up a lot of controversy, and attacks from the “other side” began. In Saskatchewan, if you ever want to see, hear, read some of the most racist things ever simply use one of these terms: Aboriginal, First Nations, Metis, Native, or Indian. Whether it be in the comments section of a newspaper article, a video about Residential schools, or our page to change a team's name and mascot hate speech will ensue.

The funny thing (well not funny at all actually) is the difference in attacks my friend and I received. She being a visibly First Nations woman, and me being a non-visible Metis man. The attacks she experienced were viscous, and at times scary. The ones I received were little more than “you used to be cool” or something along those lines. For me this reveals the obvious inequality between both women and men, and between Indigenous peoples and non.

This past year we have been actively rallying for support by speaking at a variety of events on the issue. We have met with the Principal at Bedford Road Collegiate, and were ignored. The Saskatoon Public School board was graced with the presence of an Anti-racist scholar from the University of Saskatchewan who spoke to the problems with the name and mascot, but still no change.

All that being said we are at a standstill … the school and school board appear to be just waiting for us to go away, while we insist on not going away. Ian from A Tribe Called Red has been working on addressing the Nepean Redskins name in Ottawa, and has been a vocal supporter of our campaign as well. We are developing some more creative ways to bring attention to the issue and hopefully will see some movement.

It is time for these types of names and mascots to be a thing of the past. They originated when the dominate society thought our people were going to disappear, and may have in a twisted way been some sort of honouring. Today they are nothing more than racist imagery that reduces our people and cultures to caricatures, and contributes further to the oppression and marginalization of our people. Research throughout North America has shown the problems with these types of names and mascots, and many schools have changed their names.

Even today people do not understand what has happened to Indigenous peoples in Canada. People do not truly understand the acts of genocide that have taken place here. People do not understand the treaties, and what they truly mean. Indigenous people continue to be at the bottom of social and economic hierarchy. Change needs to occur. People do not realize that these images represent something so much more than a warrior, or a team. To me, they represent genocide, racism, and broken promises.

Educational institutions need to be welcoming, inclusive places. Where youth have the opportunity to learn, and grow as human beings. A place where they learn what is right and what is wrong. A place where they feel safe, and a place where they are encouraged to think critically and challenge the status quo. With names and mascots like Bedford's, schools will never fully reach their potential.

I'd encourage all of you to go to and support the change. I would also encourage all of you to send an email to you're elected School Board Trustee or specifically the one for Ward 2 (the ward in which Bedford Road Collegiate is located).

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jpw925 (Justin Wiebe)
Member since Septembre 2012


619 words


What if the mascot was the "Whitemen"? (*Note the inaccuracy)

Do Canadian second nation peoples find the logo above accurate?


 Second Nation Peoples,


What if the Bedford School mascot's name and logo was the above picture/logo,

and titled the "Whitemen"?


Do Canadian second nation peoples,

agree or disagree,

that  the logo above,

would be an accurate  representation of all "white" people?





(**Information about logo above was found at the link below.)






I would argue that on

I would argue that on numerous levels that logo would be quite inappropriate, but for different reasons than the use of stereotypical caracatures of Indigenous peoples as mascots. Firstly, such a logo would not be inclusive and would likely alienate many people. This is very harmful in an environment like schools where inclusiveness is vital. Secondly, although revered as a wonderful person by many, George Washington's actions resulted in the murder of thousands of people. George Washington also was an advocate for the assimilation of Native Americans and instructed attacks on Native Americans, some of whom were allied with the Americans in the Revolutionary War. As I am sure many are aware George Washington was also an owner of slaves, which brings forward other issues as to why such a logo is inappropriate for schools. Obviously such a person does not represent all "white" people let alone Indigenous peoples, Immigrants, and other People of Colour. Those are some of my thoughts...

Diversity of First Nations Peoples

I agree .

I have a lot to learn,

and I really appreciate your insight.


I wonder why it is so hard ,

for so many of us second nations people,

to comprehend the effects of multiple genocides?


Multiple genocides that have severely interrupted the diversity of the lives of all first nations peoples,

cultures and traditions.


Encompassing so many  diverse territories.

having a land mass of literally two whole continents.


Interfering with the proper environments required,

during all stages and ages of human,

family and biopsychosocial development,

of  close to 200 million first nation peoples,

since colonial contact.


And the fact is,

as terribly traumatizing as "the residential school chapter"  has been  to all first nations peoples for over a  period of  138 years.

"The residential school chapter" is one of many chapters,

involving  many  genocides,

that first nations have suffered over a period  of the last 500 years .


To think that so many of us second nation peoples, 

are so unaware of the multiple genocides,

effecting all first nations families,

past and present.


And the fact that many second nation peoples won't  help. 


When a request as simple as changing what is clearly a stereotypical mascot logo,


During a time when so many first nations are struggling to rediscover their own individual identities.

When first nations peoples are trying to promote  some much needed healing.


After everything that has been forcefully taken away,

and after all the harm that has been done.


It obvious that many second nations just don't get it.

Causing  serious doubt  that Prime Minister Harper was apologizing on behalf of all Canadians.


I hope that  second nations peoples will all pay proper attention and learn when findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee are made public.


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