McGill Univer­sity hold­ing ref­er­en­dum on chang­ing long-time team nick­name

Indige­nous im­agery was part of Red­men team uni­forms up un­til the early 1990s

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Ross Mon­tour says the time is right for McGill Univer­sity to change its team nick­name.

Mon­tour, a chief on the Mo­hawk Coun­cil of Kah­nawake, says that his First Na­tions com­mu­nity near Mon­treal would wel­come McGill no longer call­ing its men’s sports teams the Red­men.

An on­line pe­ti­tion posted by the Stu­dents’ So­ci­ety of McGill Univer­sity has gar­nered nearly 10,000 sig­na­tures and led to a ref­er­en­dum among the stu­dent body on the is­sue start­ing Fri­day.

“It’s a good time for that to hap­pen,” said Mon­tour on Wed­nes­day. “I think it’s a healthy sign.”

McGill’s male teams are called the Red­men while their fe­male teams are the Martlets.

Some alumni claim the Red­men name’s ori­gin is ei­ther a trib­ute to the team’s red uni­forms or the red hair of Scot founder James McGil­lBut through the 1950s, male and fe­male teams were col­lo­qui­ally re­ferred to as the “In­di­ans” or the “Squaws” re­spec­tively. Sev­eral McGill sports teams used a styl­ized logo with an Indige­nous male wear­ing a head­dress in the 1980s un­til the school stopped us­ing the em­blem in 1992.

GRA­HAM HUGHES/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

McGill faced Duke in an ex­hi­bi­tion game in Au­gust.

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