So what do we think about the name Posse?

Recently The Spotlight printed results of the annual Ballbusters tournament held in Princeton.

But we didn’t do it completely.

The name of the C division winners – the Princeton Inglorious Batters – was published, as was the B division champs the Penticton Storm.

The A division winners were identified simply as a team from Kamloops – because their name was the Kamloops Kamshine Savages.

And that just didn’t seem right in print.

Offensive names, logos, mascots and traditions of sports teams form a familiar story.

Look no farther than The Edmonton Eskimos, The Cleveland Indians or The Washington Redskins.

Earlier this year Montreal’s McGill University removed the name Redmen from its male varsity sports teams after students and others protested it as racist and hurtful

In use for nearly a century, the school initially claimed Redmen was a name that referred just to the color of the jerseys.

Since the women’s teams used to be called The Squaws, and those same jerseys often included Indigenous motifs such as headdresses and feathers, it was something of a poor defense.

Even Princeton’s own Junior B hockey team, The Posse, has a name with a sketchy past which is sometimes referred to as racist and offensive.

Three years ago there was a minor flare up about the word, after an NBA owner referred to a player as having a “posse” and there was media coverage of the fallout.

The dictionary definition of the word Posse is “a group of people who were gathered together by a sheriff in the past to help search for a criminal.”

However, posses were sanctioned and legalized under the 1850 American Fugitive Slave Act, lending the name a troubled history.

As a possibly unrelated aside there is the Indian Posse, an infamously and deadly violent aboriginal street gang based in Winnipeg.

None of this is to suggest that The Princeton Posse or The Princeton Minor Posse teams ought to call themselves something else.

But a discussion about the name, where it comes from and how it is interpreted, would be a worthwhile exercise.

– The Similkameen Spotlight

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