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

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Victoria Police continue to investigate a stabbing in downtown Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Passerby calls police after finding man stabbed, sobbing on Victoria street

One man was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in Comox

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

Most Read