WINNIPEG (CityNews) – A senior hockey team roughly 100 kilometres west of Winnipeg, is now in the spotlight.
The Mayor of Morden, along with members of the community are leading a charge to have its local hockey team be part of the change.
“It’s becoming obvious to us that names matter, and words matter,” said Mayor Brandon Burley.
“It’s not an acceptable brand to be building.”
He says he will help fundraise and cover the cost of rebranding the team, which he says could cost up to $50-thousand.
“I have personally guaranteed that I would do that for them, just to take the excuse or the obstacle if they need that of cost right off of the table.”
The name changes do not stop there for the small town.
During Mayor Burley’s interview with CityNews Friday afternoon, he received some news from the local baseball team’s president.
“We have a men’s major baseball team called the Morden Mohawks and their president just called me five minutes ago saying that by the time the first pitch is thrown in 2021, they would have a new name, new logo, and a new brand.”
A local Indigenous writer and filmmaker, Sonya Ballantyne, says the name Redskin is offensive and describes a relic of the past.
She says these names reflect negatively on the small towns that want to keep these derogatory names.
“It’s really is bothersome when people who are of Indigenous background say it doesn’t bother me, and I’m like well yea it bothers other people and it shouldn’t be something that isn’t held up by the right of a town.”
Ballantyne says this all boils down to the idea of tradition. She says many people, especially those who live in smaller towns grew up with names like Redskin and other disrespectful terms and she feels keeping the names that are in place for these hockey teams only allows that type of culture to flourish.
“Change is always difficult, but I find that keeping names like this just normalizes racism because racism is such a common thing in hockey.”
Mayor Burley says he has received numerous emails and personal messages from residents saying they support the re-branding of the name.
“We’re going to keep pushing this issue because they’re ambassadors for our city and ambassadors for our community and they represent us just not locally, but across the province.”
CityNews reached out to the President of the Morden Redskins and although he was not available for an interview, he did say they are looking into the matter.