McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

Students at McGill University have voted by a large majority in favour of changing the Redmen nickname for the school’s sports teams.

The 79 per cent vote in favour of the change follows a campaign by Indigenous students to shed the name, which they say is derogatory.

The Redmen name dates back to the 1920s. The school says it is a tribute to the team’s red uniforms and possibly a nod to university founder James McGill’s Celtic origins.

But in the 1950s, McGill’s men’s and women’s teams were colloquially referred to as the “Indians” or the “Squaws.” In the 1980s, several McGill teams used a stylized logo with an Indigenous man wearing a headdress.

READ MORE: South Asian hockey players face racism, other barriers to participation, study says

Voting in the referendum, conducted by McGill’s student union, ended yesterday. Twenty-eight per cent of eligible students cast ballots.

The vote is non-binding, and student union spokespeople say they will continue to pressure the administration to end behaviour they call racist and oppressive.

The Canadian Press

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