Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

While civil war imagery has not recently been used by the school, the district says its past use links the name ‘Rebels’ to the Confederacy. Photo SD58While civil war imagery has not recently been used by the school, the district says its past use links the name ‘Rebels’ to the Confederacy. Photo SD58
Over the years, there have been numerous Rebel logos depicting a Confederate soldier. Photo SD58Over the years, there have been numerous Rebel logos depicting a Confederate soldier. Photo SD58
Princeton Secondary School team jerseys, in 1989, displayed the Confederate flag. Photo SD58Princeton Secondary School team jerseys, in 1989, displayed the Confederate flag. Photo SD58

For decades, sports teams and their fans at Princeton Secondary School have been known as The Rebels.

That’s changing, following an announcement from the Nicola-Similkameen School District over the name’s origins being linked to the U.S. confederacy.

“It has recently come to the attention of the Board of Education that the current logo for Princeton Secondary School Rebels has a history of being defined by images that glorify the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. These images, although not used recently, have varied across the years. In the past they have included depictions of confederate soldiers, and the Confederate flag,” reads the letter dated July 3, 2020.

School district chair Gordon Comeau told The Spotlight the issue was raised by the high school’s new principal, Bill Lawrence.

“The days of even hinting at discrimination are far past,” said Comeau, adding the name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy.

“We know it’s very offensive to some people in our system and our community.”

Comeau said he anticipates some backlash over the decision. “Some people don’t like change…But you have to do what is right.”

He acknowledged the word “rebel” can be interpreted in different ways. However, he said, the imagery associated with its use at the school clearly ties it to a hurtful period in history.

Over the years, different logos have been used by the school’s sports teams on their jerseys. Those include pictures of the Confederate flag, and depictions of a soldier with a gun.

A new name and logo that reflects inclusivity will be chosen in the fall.

The letter to parents states: “The process will include an opportunity for open dialogue and stakeholder input. We look forward to this important work and once again encourage all members of our community to support the school and our students in this process.”

Related: Anti-racism protesters rally around world, topple statue of slave trader in U.K.

Related: New Westminster votes to remove statue of ‘Hanging Judge’ Matthew Begbie

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski, Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Hail to the chief – an in-depth interview with Surrey Police Service’s first boss

Chief Constable Norm Lipinski will assume his historic new role on Dec. 14

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Most Read