The following is a letter written by Professor Aguiar and the students of the Sociology of Sport course.
To the local community:
We the students and professor of the Sociology of Sport course at UBCO write to encourage the local community to endorse our call to the local Kelowna Chiefs Junior Hockey Club to change its name and logo.
In raising this issue we not only seek to do the right thing, but follow in the timely example of McGill University students who recently voted overwhelmingly to get their school to eradicate “Redmen” from the school’s name, propos, and merchandising. We find “chiefs” a term applied by a colonizing power to refer to indigenous elders and leaders while never fully owned by Indigenous peoples. Indeed, “chief” can be used as a derogatory term to disrespect someone’s views and opinions, and does not fairly represent Indigenous peoples.
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.
The Sociology of Sport class, UBCO.