Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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U of R cheer team under fire for cowboys and Indians-themed photo

Images were posted to social media causing backlash

Reported by Aaron Stuckel

News Talk 650 CKOM

The University of Regina has condemned the actions of its school cheer team after a picture of them was posted to Twitter wearing culturally sensitive attire.

On Friday, the team was celebrating with a year-end party that had a “Cowboys and Indians” theme. A picture was taken of the team wearing both cowboy hats and First Nations head dresses. It was subsequently posted to Facebook and other social media sites garnering harsh backlash from a number of offended people.

“U of R cheer team cowboys and Indian battle scene. #culturalappropriation,” tweeted @JackiiRoze with the photo attached.

“We aren't short tiny buckskins with a cute feather in our hair,” said Elle Mac Arthur under the Twitter handle @Chotee. “We are real. Images like this objectify us (and) make us less human to predators.”

The photos were eventually removed and an apology was given out over Twitter.

“We apologize for the photos they have been removed from all of our social media,” said someone behind the @UofRCheer Twitter account.

That wasn’t enough for some, including @JackiiRoze.

“It's not the pictures I’m concerned about. It’s that you all thought this was OK,” she responded.

By Sunday, Harold Riemer, the dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology had made a statement saying that the issue had been dealth with by the university.

“The University of Regina cheer team had a social event on Friday night and that event included culturally inappropriate themes and costumes,” he said.

“Beginning this next week, the team’s coaches and team members are going to be meeting with Dr. Shauneen Pete who is the university’s executive lead on indigenization to talk about what took place and the issues surrounding that event. And once that’s happened, the university will take a look at whether or not further action is required.”

Riemer couldn’t say what exactly would happen in those sessions, but assured that “learning would take place.”

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