Canada’s largest school district is banning the word ‘chief.’ The reason won’t come as a surprise.

Canada’s largest school district is banning the word ‘chief.’ The reason won’t come as a surprise.
The Toronto District School Board is reportedly phasing out the word “chief” from senior staff job titles out of respect for indigenous people. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

What gives?

  • The Toronto District School Board — the largest in Canada — is phasing out the word “chief” from senior staff job titles out of respect for indigenous people, the National Post reported.
  • District spokesman Ryan Bird told the paper that the word “is used as a slur in some cases, or in a negative way to describe indigenous people.”

What will replace ‘chief’?

  • “Chief” will be replaced with terms like “manager” and “executive officer” within the school board, the Post reported. For example, Bird said the chief of social work will now be the manager of social work.

How have others reacted?

  • Some questioned the move, saying “chief” is widespread in job titles across the world, the paper reported.
  • Mark Morton of the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence studies word origins and said the root of “chief” is believed to predate Latin and spawned terms such as “captain,” the Post added.
  • Morton also said “chief” was used to describe leaders of Irish and Scottish clans in the 1570s and wasn’t applied to the leaders of First Nations until the 18th century, the paper reported.
  • However, Morton told the Post “if that usage is going to genuinely hurt a group of people, then I would say yes, by all means, let’s see if we can find an alternative.”
  • But Christie Blatchford, a columnist for the Post, had some scathing words about the move, calling Canada “the stupidest country ever.”
  • “If many people understand that caricatures such as Chief Wahoo, the mascot of the Cleveland Indians, might be offensive to Indigenous ears and eyes,” she wrote, “it’s a struggle to get the notion that a non-Indigenous word such as ‘chief’ is equally insulting.”

(H/T: Truth Revolt)

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