Skate Canada Replaces "Mohawk" and "Choctaw" In Its Terminology

overedge

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Per an email to Skate Canada members today (I can't find it linked online). This is part of "work[ing] toward the decolonizing of our terminology and align[ing] with our commitment to anti-racism."
The mohawk will now be "the C step" and the choctaw will be "the S step".
 
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Coco

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Here are some videos if people want to be inspired for a naming contest



 
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Lil Sarah

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While we can be sensitive that someone indeed used names of the First Nations, and I am sure some will be happy with this. But in general, this is not really what skaters, coaches, families, supporters meant when they wanted change.

The new terms both correspond to the tracing on the ice that is left when these steps are performed. The terminology changes are:

  • Mohawk to a C Step
  • Choctaw to a S Step
 

tony

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Per an email to Skate Canada members today (I can't find it linked online). This is part of "work[ing] toward the decolonizing of our terminology and align[ing] with our commitment to anti-racism."
The mohawk will now be "the M step" and the choctaw will be "the C step".
They should have a naming contest for new names as shortening them to M and C remind everyone what they used to be called and doesn't really help, imo.

Here are some videos if people want to be inspired for a naming contest



But what you both said isn't true according to what Sarah quoted? C and S are not short for Mohawk and Choctaw. I believe @overedge did not read correctly?
 

Vagabond

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Per an email to Skate Canada members today (I can't find it linked online). This is part of "work[ing] toward the decolonizing of our terminology and align[ing] with our commitment to anti-racism."
The mohawk will now be "the M step" and the choctaw will be "the C step".
This is going to make the lives of the Mohawk and Choctaw so much better. :rolleyes:

I suppose renaming the Finnstep the "F step" will be next.

:watch:
 

Judy

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While we can be sensitive that someone indeed used names of the First Nations, and I am sure some will be happy with this. But in general, this is not really what skaters, coaches, families, supporters meant when they wanted change.
Ah I get it. At least it makes sense.
 

VarBar

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1,451
This is part of "work[ing] toward the decolonizing of our terminology and align[ing] with our commitment to anti-racism."
The mohawk will now be "the M step" and the choctaw will be "the C step".


:lol: Talk about covering yourself with ridicule.
 

thvudragon

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Hahahahahahaha.

So in lieu of just not being racist, they’re going to change the name of some steps. It’s like Skate Canada is bending over backwards to avoid addressing the root of the problem, racially biased and discriminatory actions, behaviors, and treatments of skaters.
 

Aerobicidal

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I'm hardly the voice of extreme political correctness, but I think it's really problematic to ridicule this decision. Colonial powers have destroyed and stolen so many aspects of indigenous cultures, and for those of us who do not identify as Native, (and I realize many people on FSU do) laughing at steps being taken to redress colonial theft not only reflects privilege, but trivializes efforts for empowerment.

That being said, I agree that this may not make much a difference in the real world, but who knows? And if it leads a path for more powerful actions in the future, that's great.

Also, this isn't an either/or situation. Other, perhaps more powerful, efforts can and obviously should be made by skating federations to address discrimination, racism, and many other power imbalances at the same time as actions like getting rid of colonial language.

Finally, it doesn't matter whether or not these terms are derogatory. The issue is that they were stolen through a system of colonialism. For example, there's an ongoing discussion in Duluth (large-ish city in MN with a large Native population) about whether to stop using the term "chief" in official titles. Again, I'm skeptical of how much of a difference such a change would make, and I also realize that news about stuff like that really sets off right wing anger about "political correctness," but it's a really complicated subject driven by centuries of really bad shit, and to be totally dismissive or laugh about it doesn't seem appropriate to me.
 

Coco

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But what you both said isn't true according to what Sarah quoted? C and S are not short for Mohawk and Choctaw. I believe @overedge did not read correctly?

I "truly" referenced what overedge posted about :rolleyes:

C and S make more sense, though, as those are the patterns traced on the ice, and shortening the name of the steps to their first letter do nothing to eliminate colonialist attitudes.
 

tony

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I "truly" referenced what overedge posted about :rolleyes:

C and S make more sense, though, as those are the patterns traced on the ice, and shortening the name of the steps to their first letter do nothing to eliminate colonialist attitudes.
I get that you were referencing an incorrect detail and I was just trying to point out that a later poster actually supplied the exact wording before we got more into this shortening of the words. :p
 

VGThuy

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I’m glad for the change. It won’t do much in the grand scheme of things, but at least I can stop telling non-skating fans the names of those step. That was super embarrassing and this change should have happened sooner. Like Aerobicidal said, this isn’t an either/or situation.
 

gkelly

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I was having a conversation just the other day with my father and stepmother about choctaws, the Kilian, where the names came from, Native Americans in figure skating, etc., and sent them some links.

(Dad's response to the e-mail and videos was "choctaws look like a good way to trip, especially the inside ones
did you ever try one?")

When there is a link to share with this new information from Skate Canada, I will send it on.
 

overedge

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Other, perhaps more powerful, efforts can and obviously should be made by skating federations to address discrimination, racism, and many other power imbalances at the same time as actions like getting rid of colonial language.

This is what I would like to see, as well as the name change. I think some of the cynicism around the name change may be from suspicions that Skate Canada will do this and nothing much more.
 

starrynight

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What are those steps called in other languages? For example, what are they in French or Russian?
 

MacMadame

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Btw, I don't think people should underestimate how hard it is to get organizations to agree to change the names of things. My company agreed, in theory, to change the name of the Whitelist/Blacklist feature to be Allowed/Blocked a few weeks after George Floyd was murdered. And here we are almost 6 months later and that change hasn't happened. In this case, I doubt renaming these steps was even something that people were in agreement on to start. So getting agreement to change them and then actually coming up with new names and approving that change in 6 months probably took a fair amount of work.
 

jenny12

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I’m glad for the change. It won’t do much in the grand scheme of things, but at least I can stop telling non-skating fans the names of those step. That was super embarrassing and this change should have happened sooner. Like Aerobicidal said, this isn’t an either/or situation.

I agree. Yes, this is just a small thing in the grand scheme of things but I think anything we can do to stop appropriating under-represented cultures is a positive thing. Hopefully, we can also work on diversifying skating and reaching out to more under-represented populations as well but I think this is a step in the right direction.
 

Louis

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I'm hardly the PC police, but 1) I don't see a down side to the change, and 2) it's a good first step that's visible to all, inside and outside the organization.

And my company did change white list/black list, and eliminated any master/slave references. (We gave ourselves a six-week deadline and stuck to it.) If an easy wording change makes people feel better and more included, why not?
 

vu2019

Member
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What are those steps called in other languages? For example, what are they in French or Russian?

I don't know if there are other names used in different countries/languages, but the ISU rules and handbooks use Mohawk and Choctaw, so those would be the standard terms used and understood by ISU officials worldwide (English being the official language of the ISU). I would be interested to know if there are other regional names in different languages and what they are, too, though.
 

Moka-Ananas

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I, for one, am super glad that Skate Canada is finally taking care of the real great problems in this sport and the world in general.

All the time we are getting useless and unimportant news about the 'rona, climate change or wars so kudos to Skate Canada for finally solving the most important controversial problems which are the names of certain figure skating steps.
 

Aussie Willy

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Did the First Nations people call for this change?

These are terms used around the world by all skaters.
 

Aerobicidal

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No one is saying this is going to save the world or is more important than other news or other problems or things being done to address other problems.

Joking about the Finnstep is both unfunny and ridiculous because there is no colonial genocide, trauma, forced reeducation, or other related history behind the term "Finnstep."

Finally, there are millions of better things to get angry about and/or mock, if you really just want to be mad or make fun of something.
 

Orm Irian

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I like the change, and I'm glad Skate Canada has made it. I know it seems small and irrelevant in the grand scheme of what's going on in the world today, but for little First Nations kids in Canada who start to learn to skate post-lurgi it means they won't hear their teachers reducing the names of their nations to terminology based on stereotypes without even thinking about what they're doing - and neither will little non-Indigenous kids, which will make a tiny positive change in how they think about their Indigenous peers too. The letter/shape names will also be better teaching tools for coaches, I think, though that's a secondary consideration.

It's on a par with Skate Canada renaming the singles disciplines to 'Women'/'Girls' and 'Men'/'Boys'*. Small, far from world-shattering, and it was probably ridiculed when they first did it, but it's a way of communicating who they see (or are teaching themselves to see) as equal human beings and equal members of the skating community. And a reminder that children are children and should be treated as such in competition and elsewhere.

*Yes, they could have gone for 'Ladies' and 'Gentlemen' too, but they chose to focus on 'categories of human', reductive though those categories might be, rather than 'social class and/or standards of behaviour' for their terminology, and that also says something about what they're trying to achieve.
 

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