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 SD58
Over 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 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

Shortage of workers on Creston, Okanagan cherry and apple farms due to COVID-19

‘The tree fruit industry and the Ministry of Agriculture are asking local workers to consider helping with the harvest so that food waste is reduced’

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

Creston Fire Rescue Report: nine calls between Aug. 1 and 6

On Aug. 2, the CFR team and Wynndel Lakeview Fire Department (WLFD) were dispatched to the area of Highway 3A in Sirdar for a two-vehicle motorcycle incident

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Creston Valley Hospital addresses COVID-19 rumours regarding farms

‘Not one seasonal worker in Creston has tested positive for COVID-19,’ said Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Most Read