Montreal Gazette

Indigenous, and proud ex-Redmen


Re: “It’s high time to drop Redmen team name” (Opinion, Nov. 7)

I’m from Mashteuiat­sh, an Innu community in the LacSt-Jean area, and my parents are Innu. All my family lives there, and I did until age 15. I go back when I return from my seasons of profession­al hockey in Europe. I had to leave the community to pursue my studies and my hockey in Chicoutimi. I am also an alumnus of McGill University, having proudly worn the colours of the Redmen from 2008 to 2012. I am aware some people might think the Redmen name refers to First Nations and it might offend them. But as a First Nations person who holds the Indigenous cause and the Redmen and McGill close to my heart, I think it’s important to share my point of view. The hockey team was like a big family. Respect was front and centre. I always wore the uniform with enormous pride. The Redmen name refers to the red uniform, not to First Nations. I don’t for a moment think this name should be offensive to Indigenous people. In fact, once my hockey seasons end, I participat­e in Indigenous hockey tournament­s at various reserves in Quebec with my old friends, and our team name is the Mashteuiat­sh Redmen. I hope the Redmen name will stay because for all the McGill alumni who wore it, we will forever be associated with it. Redmen is a unifying name that refers to a family we are all proud to belong to, regardless of our origins. Francis Verreault-Paul, Milan

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