College Ahuntsic to drop Indiens as logo and mascot as the school indigenizes
MONTREAL -- Following the lead of multiple universities and sports teams across the continent, College Ahuntsic will abandon its mascot and no longer use the moniker "Indiens" for its 14 sports teams.
Ahuntsic is the second school this year to change the name of its teams, following McGill University's decision to forego the team name Redmen in April after calls from Indigenous groups to change the name.
The Ahuntsic name change and process of indigenizing the campus was spearheaded by anthropology professor Julie Gauthier, who worked with the college's general manager Nathalie Vallee and Mikana, a group that works to sensitize organizations and reconcile groups with Indigenous realities in the province.
"We've been working since last year in partnership with the Ahuntsic College as part of a project to decolonize and indigenize the college," said Mikana cofounder Widia Lariviere. "The change of the name and the logo of their sports team is only one of the many aspects of this project. There are also many activities to educate the staff and the students of the College about the realities of Indigenous Peoples."
Indigenization involves including more Indigenous content and services throughout the school to greater reflect the people whose land the school is built on.
Gauthier has worked to indigenize her classroom over the past 15 years and done exchanges in the Obedjiwan Atikamekw community with her students.
Since September, the school has organized a series of lectures, workshops, speakers, and other events to sensitize students to Indigenous realities.
The school's student body of 10,000 includes 50 who identify as Indigenous according to a study by Gauthier.
The school will hold consultations and workshops to decide on a new school mascot and name, which should be in place next year.