Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

ACTION IN THE SKY – Fireworks explode in the sky during the 2018 festival, now simply known as ‘Yukon Rendezvous’. The name change has created a whole new set of fireworks.

‘You have ruined the uniqueness of our Rendezvous’

The Yukon Rendezvous Festival found itself enveloped in controversy today after announcing what’s appearing to be a very unpopular name change.

By Tim Giilck on January 29, 2021

The Yukon Rendezvous Festival found itself enveloped in controversy today after announcing what’s appearing to be a very unpopular name change.

Festival organizers dropped the traditional “Sourdough” out of the name earlier this week.

They said it had some negative connotations to some people.

By this morning, the proverbial excrement had truly hit the fan on social media over the issue.

A member of one group on Facebook, the Yukon Helpers Network, had posted that threats were being made against the festival’s organizers and the building.

Members of the festival team were difficult to reach – and would offer only this as a comment to the Star:

“At this stage while we would prefer that you would not publish an article, we understand if you chose to go ahead without our comment,” said Saskrita Shrestha, the festival’s executive director.

Other, long-term Rendezvous supporters such as Gordie Ryder are outraged at the change.

In an interview with the Star, Ryder said he couldn’t believe what is happening.

“Is it true?” he asked a reporter in sheer disbelief. “I didn’t know about it, and no one was consulted.

“I certainly am upset about it.”

Ryder said the Sourdough name for the festival dates back at least to the 1950s, and harkens to the rich history, heritage and tradition of the Yukon.

He said he was “walking across the road to talk to them about this today.”

Another long-time supporter, who didn’t wish to be identified, had harsher words.

“It’s our tradition, our heritage,” he fumed. “Why change it? It’s been there forever.

“They need to give their heads a shake,” he added. “They did it without consultation; they did it without getting anyone’s opinion.

“They should all resign.”

Festival organizers sent out a notice on May 12, 2020, that contained a link to a survey about rebranding the festival.

Many people involved in supporting the festival, however, may not have paid much attention to it in the middle of the pandemic.

More than 400 comments on the issue on a Facebook page called “My Life in the Yukon” had piled up by mid-morning today.

“You have ruined the uniqueness of our Rendezvous,” Lynn Bartsch wrote. “This is very important for Yukon! You have lost my support.”

Sandra Lynn wrote, “Put Sourdough back into the name. I have yet to speak to anyone that approves of the change. This word is part of our history and tradition....”

“Will there still be Can Can dancers? I would think that would be more offensive to ‘some people’ than bread.

“As a former Yukoner of 22 years, I have many fond memories of the Sourdough Rendezvous,” Bonnie Simenson wrote.

“If people feel that some events are not inclusive, don’t go. Dropping part of the festival’s name just seems silly.”

Jack Laitinen wrote, “until I get a lucid, coherent, reasoned explanation, I want Sourdough to stay.”

It didn’t take long for a petition against the name change to show up on the Change.org website.

Initiated by Matthew Janiga, the petition had nearly 1,000 signatures by 11:30 this morning.

“Some things that have been done in this country were awful and should be rectified,” he said about the petition.

“However, I don’t believe this is one of them.Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous has been a Yukon tradition for 57 years. It’s been enjoyed by people from all around the world and of different nationalities. If it’s not broke, it doesn’t need fixing.

“I figured I’d pass this petition on to the Yukon Rendezvous society. If that doesn’t work, then I guess I’ll be bringing it to the City of Whitehorse or maybe a minister. We’ll see how it goes.”

In a letter sent to the Star, T.Z. Rogan had a different perspective.

She wrote, “Let’s start this off with stating that I was born right here in the Yukon. I have celebrated Rendezvous every single year of my life with the exception of the years I was outside the territory going to school.

“I grew up with the shufflers, the Cabane à Sucre, the chainsaw chucking and all of the zaniness that accompanies our winter festival.

“In 2017 I ran for, and was crowned Rendezvous Queen. I have volunteered in countless years, performed at, and was an eager participant in all that I could be a part of every year.

“And I am disgusted. As I am typing this, there are posts all over the internet, some with over 400 comments attacking Rendezvous for their decision to rebrand the festival, removing the word ‘sourdough’ from their organization.

“Over 90 per cent of the comments are angry, hateful, and nasty. The few of us who speak up are attacked personally.

“And this morning I found out that because of the behaviour of these people, Rendezvous not only took down their Facebook page, but closed their offices to work from home and protect their staff from the overwhelming amount of cyber bullying and threats to their staff they are receiving.

“I am so disappointed in my community today,” Rogan said.

Comments (104)

Up 3 Down 2

Someone with an opinion on Mar 1, 2021 at 9:13 am

If you take the time to look at all the comments, the people who think that others are overreacting have a significant amount more dislikes than likes. Anyone who agrees that this is a "travesty of justice" gets an absurd amount of likes. Another thing, the term "sourdough" refers to a person who has lived 20 winters in Yukon. Most likely half the people who are in the lynching mob, screaming for the name to remain the same are not even sourdoughs. If this is honestly the best thing you can complain about, you need to get yourself a job instead of having your mommy give you an allowance.
A lot of the comments telling people to "get a life" got over 100 dislikes in under a month. What do you people do; hover over your keyboard and wait for something to come up that makes you cry? Yukon and even Canada as a whole are becoming disgustingly sensitive, where you can't even disagree with someone without them hysterically breaking down in tears. Also, in the amount of time that you are being "keyboard warriors" as one intelligent person put it, you could be doing so many other things.
Why don't you volunteer for Rendezvous and help change it back? Or invest in the younger generation to help them not become as sensitive and as stupid as you are? Or start a charity to help those who actually need it? By the way, I will almost guarantee that this comment will get 100+ dislikes in a period of 2-4 weeks.

Up 3 Down 0

Rosana Paredes on Feb 26, 2021 at 10:41 am

Both arguments are valid. Why not call it Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous?

Up 9 Down 2

Tom Foolery on Feb 4, 2021 at 6:21 pm

If Lori Fox and members of the Rendezvous Society and others despise the Yukon so much, why are they here?? I'm happy to chip in for a one way Air North flight to Vancouver for any of this entitled lot. They will be happier in a less oppressive colonial hell and the Yukon will be a better without the spoiled haters. #winwin #goodriddance

Up 26 Down 3

Bingo on Feb 4, 2021 at 12:50 pm

Perhaps most people like myself who have been here for longer than a cup of coffee, really don’t like, appreciate or respect people who come from away and try and invoke their philosophies and the like. The Yukon is a special place and in my view these wokers are trying to make it political. Sourdough will always be a term of reference to many things, not just the rendezvous.

Up 6 Down 22

JSmonk on Feb 4, 2021 at 12:47 pm

Have any of you ever heard of a re-brand? Have any of you stepped up and served on the board yourself? All you whining Liberals love to complain but won't step up to do the work yourselves. Kid's these days are getting out of hand.

Up 38 Down 1

Hypocritical Board on Feb 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

Aren't can-can dancers a throwback to the colonial era? What about the flour pack? The sawing? The axe-throw? The old fashioned attire worn by your Rendezvous Queens/candidates?

Dear Rendezvous Board of Directors, why don't you stop being hypocritical and just scrap the whole festival?

Up 29 Down 1

Moose101 on Feb 4, 2021 at 5:18 am

Now in the second press release from the Yukon Sourdough Society they say they have not changed the name ?? No apology for not consulting or reversing the decision. They still stick by there statement that Sourdough recalls our colonial history so it is bad and we should erase terms from the past that may hint of colonialism. They sound like a group of people in the Middle East that blow up monuments and curtail education because they don’t align with their thinking “today”

Up 13 Down 26

YXY on Feb 3, 2021 at 3:30 pm

5th generation Yukoner here. Lots of ancestors buried at the YOOP cemetery in Dawson and other locales.
As far as I am concerned, go ahead and change the name. Don't know what the hubbub is all about. Real Yukoners are secure enough in their identity that they don't need a noun to define themselves.
Y'all need to get a job and stay busy.

Up 16 Down 1

Officer Rice Cakes on Feb 3, 2021 at 3:22 pm

@Tom Stevens

Reported to CSIS for willful promotion of pro-bread propaganda. Your pantry will be seized and the both of you can expect the maximum sentence of life in the gluten free section.

Up 5 Down 33

Mary T on Feb 3, 2021 at 3:11 pm

Imagine that some people's first brush with oppression is the rebranding of a festival they have never lifted a finger to help out on. Now imagine the stark contrast that minorities and marginalized people face on a daily basis.

You sourdoughs are in for a rough ride in the coming years as change is happening, like it or not.

Up 40 Down 1

I knead my dough on Feb 3, 2021 at 3:08 pm

@Yukoner '71
Pardon me while I struggle to fight off a brain aneurysm after having read the article. The cognitive dissonance is astounding. 'They' are trying to spin it in such a way as to make US look like the hypersensitive ones because after all, it's 'just a word'. They article is rife with hateful rhetoric accusing anyone of being against the change as 'racist' 'sexist' 'mysogynist' etc. for trying to preserve a unique part of our heritage. It's all so tiresome. I need to stop typing before I give myself a stroke.

Up 60 Down 5

Anie on Feb 3, 2021 at 11:29 am

Yukoner71, I agree, that person's opinion piece on CBC was hateful and I'm embarrassed that anyone reading might think it represents the Yukon. Comments were turned off at CBC. That's unfortunate.

Today YSRS said they encourage discussion. But they did so in a press release, with no opportunity for questions or discussion. They told everyone to stop the hating, but did not in any way acknowledge that they might have made a mistake. It appears their only explanation will be some imaginary negative connotation in the word "sourdough". Since most Yukoners think the word means someone who has survived a winter here, and some think it's a yeast substitute, It might help if they told us what they think the word means. Right now, I see no room for that discussion they say they encourage.

Up 43 Down 4

K.b. on Feb 3, 2021 at 8:08 am

Y'all get your rants off, this ain't the only thing that's going to change..get your pens and pencils ready...there's going to be a lot more for our new arrivals to whine about.

Up 77 Down 8

Yukoner ‘71 on Feb 2, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Go over to CBC North and read the steaming pile of opinion piece that ‘they’ as in Lori Fox wrote on this subject. Funny that ‘they’ get to to share ‘their’ radical socialist apologist opinion on CBC but no one else is able to. That’s your tax dollars at work against you folks. Don’t you just love hearing about how your parents, grandparents and great grandparents who lived in this territory were just a bunch of terrible people?

Up 15 Down 33

Groucho d'North on Feb 2, 2021 at 5:39 pm

Much ado about nothing. A match got tossed into a room full of short fuses. As said below, Don't like it? Get involved and be a part of maintaining traditions or boldly going into something new for the group, team or event of your choice. I imagine they would love more help.

Up 8 Down 3

melba on Feb 2, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Forget Peaches and Bobbie, who remembers Pony? ha ha ha!

Up 41 Down 3

Yukon Justice on Feb 2, 2021 at 4:45 pm

I remember when the Whitehorse Star was on Main street and Bob Erlam the owner sponsered Wilfred Charlie. Wilfred tied his dog team up in the back alley and camped out in the back office. Charlie's lead dog Rosey got loose at the starting line down on the river. He ran back to the camp in the alley, caught the dog, found a leash, ran back to the race and still won the damn thing. Those were the days my friends you will never see the like of them again. So keep the name and the memory strong.

Up 47 Down 6

LOL! on Feb 2, 2021 at 2:31 pm

Quick to the Superstore everyone... Tom says they got the nerve to sell SOURDOUGH bread!!!! We must “peacefully and patriotically” let Superstore know that what they are doing is hurtful. People could have their feelings lacerated by malicious loaves... Community relations could sour... And as we all know the government is only capable of half-baked solutions.

I apologize for the volatile and incendiary language. It other countries during these woke times it might be considered by many to be a capital offence... But the horror, oh the horror, that could be averted!

But enough of this Tom Foolery... Tom... If we want to get serious and tackle this insanity once and for all we got to deal with Super A, Save On, Alpine Bakery, Independent, and Bigway - Wherever SOURDOUGH bread is distributed to the hateful masses we must organize!

We can call ourselves the Sourdough Task Force! (STF!).

Up 18 Down 16

JSmonk on Feb 2, 2021 at 1:29 pm

@voltaire, I understand being upset over Cancel Culture but getting so mad you threaten property damage and/or violence is obscenely overboard. I think these form's of mind control is as awful as anyone but getting upset over a re-brand of an already dying event is ignorant at best. Thank you for taking the time to reply to me in a graceful manner.

Up 59 Down 1

Charlie's Aunt on Feb 2, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Yes many of us do simply refer to the festival as Rendezvous, but in our brains it will always be the Sourdough Rendezvous. Present day has no resemblance to the earlier event. Sometime in 1980's it changed from being a time when locals could shake off cabin fever and semi-pros from outside, lured by bigger prizes, began to take part. Local amateurs used to have fun competing; home made costumes, dog teams from communities, local woodcutters, trappers on snowshoes all had fun; fun and friendship were the primary purpose, not the prize money. Dances were held in many locations around town and everyone wore gold rush era costumes doing the dance circuit.
Unfortunately times change, many of the dog teams used by RCMP and other groups in communities are no longer a necessity; K K is still with us but other dance hall buildings such as airport hanger, old Whitehorse Inn are gone. Unless we can bring back the spirit of the original festival, we might as well change the whole name and newbies who have no understanding of the tradition behind the event can promote their own new idea spring carnival.
Next thing we will hear is that can-can dancers are immoral, Keystone Cops will be accused of police brutality and if they still exist we will only have The Sams performing in their trap doors.

Up 8 Down 17

Nathan Living on Feb 2, 2021 at 12:34 pm

I have good memories of the early days but there was a bar and alcohol culture they moved away from.
More family events prevailed.

It's time to be creative and have it grow or let it die which seems today it has been going for twenty years.

Up 40 Down 2

Juniper Jackson on Feb 2, 2021 at 11:47 am

Oh my G. Dentist! I laughed right out loud at your post. For those that don't know, Peaches and Bobbi were very popular strippers at the old KK. KK was THE place to go, and the Taku..at one time, and just a hopping over Rendezvous.

I must be the only person in Whitehorse that never saw them but heard about them for 7 days.

Up 61 Down 7

Sourdough on Feb 2, 2021 at 11:41 am

I've had it with all this political correct BS.
I for one will no longer advertise, sponsor, or participate in this new era of political correctness, shown by the present Rendezvous board.

Up 38 Down 7

Wilf Carter on Feb 2, 2021 at 7:11 am

Just leave well enough alone. Why change the name when people are used to it? And now we have a waste of energy by making trouble where it is not needed.

Up 19 Down 17

Let's all take a deep breath! on Feb 2, 2021 at 4:20 am

"I" don't see anything wrong with the word, therefore "they" shouldn't be offended. Classic.

Up 45 Down 3

Tom Stevens on Feb 1, 2021 at 10:52 pm

I went to Superstore and they were still selling Sourdough bread.. what is wrong.. do they not understand how offended the people are, and there it was right next to the white bread.. omg.. say it is not so.. I am offended over Sourdough... oh it is not the bread, really it is a festival? People are idiots.. the failure of how we have raised people without brains and common sense and the live and let live mentality has now passed us by. I am embarrassed to be a member of the new version of the inhuman race.

Up 55 Down 6

Guncache on Feb 1, 2021 at 7:35 pm

"They said it had negative connotations for some" . Removing SOURDOUGH is a negative connotation for me and 99.9 % of the rest of the people.

Up 42 Down 5

I’m offended on Feb 1, 2021 at 5:23 pm

While we’re at it, can we also remove the word Rendezvous? I mean, it’s a French word. If I am French, perhaps I should be offended and demand a name change. How dare you take my French culture and language and turn it into some silly festival that has nothing to do with the French people?

Asinine argument, right? Just like all of this. Completely asinine.
Honestly, THIS is the issue that is dividing our community (no matter who or what you are or where you come from). So very unfortunate for a society as ‘evolved’ as we all like to claim we are.

Up 46 Down 5

Voltaire on Feb 1, 2021 at 4:22 pm


It's not the festival name change in and of itself that is causing the outrage, but rather a disturbing trend in our society known as 'cancel culture'. People are getting fed up with the one-sided nature of the discourse in this country as a result of censorship taking a toll on the foundations of our democracy. We live in a time where lives are destroyed for simply stating an opinion that runs contrary to the narrative. I maintain Voltaire's position: I disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Up 17 Down 9

Heiko Nyland on Feb 1, 2021 at 4:04 pm

As a kid I remember Rendezvous with dog sled races on the river at the end of Main St. They put in another wheel at the dam. No more dog sled races, but more hydro power. I had a friend who never really recovered from the flour packing. Too much testosterone. But bragging rights...for awhile. I liked the chainsaw chucking. Just glad it wasn't mine. I almost froze to death once when a drunken crew of Keystone cops dragged me in a cage up the 2 Mile Hill at -30. (No beard) Those idiots don't drink and drive anymore. I survived. But things change, usually for the better. Dropping Sourdough won't delete it from history and we who were there remember. Sometimes too much eh? Just think of the stories we can tell: I remember when Rendezvous had Sourdough in it's Name! And this whole fiasco is history too. Keep your memories, and let's make some new ones. Whatever the name, move along. Nothing to see here folks. Just sayin... And thanks for not forcing my comments through face crack. Couldn't say it without you Star. Oh, sorry. Whitehorse Star.

Up 19 Down 1

DOB on Feb 1, 2021 at 3:26 pm

I am trying to understand the negative connotations of sourdough, it would be helpful if Mr. Hickman could explain. It might take a little of mean what you say and say what you mean instead of relying on code words. My understanding of the term Sourdough is a person who comes to the Yukon and adapts to living through 3 winters, some say it is only one.
Perhaps the meaning of the word has evolved and there are those who are aware of some insidious definition that escapes me. The vague explanation that the festival has it origins in colonialization, reminds me of another aspect settler impact upon this land. The Sourdough Rendezvous is one of many festivals worldwide that take place in February. They all have a link, some overtly, while others less so. They are Christian pre-Lent celebrations. Think of Carnivals from Quebec, to Rio and Italy and of course Marti Gras in New Orleans. Should we have have a festival, no matter how remotely, connected to the colonial religion.

In contrast to political correction this reminds me of when I resided in in New Brunswick and the Orange Lodge was "right thinking" incensed that there was a street sign which they claimed was unilingual French. They asked why was there a sign "Cul de Sac". I sent response to the local newspaper to note that "Cul de Sac" was valid a valid word according to the Oxford English Dictionary, likely used by the Queen. In addition, I pointed out that the organization should change their name as the "Loyal Orange Lodge, Royal Scarlett Chapter" because all the words have origins in French.
In is unfortunate that people have been using social media to put the organizers figuratively to the "third degree". The meaning of this expression has changed and no longer involves burning coals red hot swords but the beast of social media certainly cruel and merciless.

Up 33 Down 2

Dentist on Feb 1, 2021 at 2:48 pm

Bring back Bobbi and Peaches!!

Up 49 Down 2

Uhh... on Feb 1, 2021 at 11:41 am

Wasn't the Gold Rush what made quite a few FN people famous? I'm sure they wouldn't be offended by the term "sourdough" and would probably think it's heinous to rename something like this.

Up 24 Down 63

JSmonk on Feb 1, 2021 at 10:53 am

You should be ashamed of yourself if this has actually riled you up enough to a state of anger. Unbelievably childish.

Up 5 Down 56

Nathan Living on Feb 1, 2021 at 10:00 am

Maybe time to make this a mini event and move to a spring event when people can paddle and play ball and envoy activities outdoors.

Yukon Spring Rendezvous?

Up 75 Down 7

SH on Feb 1, 2021 at 9:23 am

I'm so offended that the word "Rendezvous" is in the name, as I am not french. I am also offended that the word "Yukon" is in the name, as this festival should be welcoming to non-Yukon residents. As such, I would like to propose a a new name that is guaranteed to not offed anyone:


Up 73 Down 0

So Easily Offended on Feb 1, 2021 at 9:18 am

T.Z. Rogan,
Good grief - Rendezvous is not a victim here! I didn't find any "hateful" comments on Facebook. A passionate disagreement does not equate "hate". People are far, far too easily offended these days. Is it not possible to respectfully disagree on a matter?
No doubt you will misinterpret this comment as being "hateful", and no doubt I will be able to convince you otherwise.

Up 55 Down 0

But we can still have pancakes, right? on Feb 1, 2021 at 9:09 am

Please, just don't take away the sourdough pancakes!

Up 70 Down 3

Not interested on Feb 1, 2021 at 7:17 am

The "not sourdough anymore" Rendezvous has been on a steady decline for easily 15 years or more. I haven't partaken for at least a decade. Sounds like the perpetually offended SJW squad now at the helm of the rendezvous society are exactly what is needed to run it into the ground and finish it off once and for all.

Up 30 Down 3

Good Grief Charlie Brown on Jan 31, 2021 at 10:17 pm

Dear Uncle Ted - You are spot on with most of your post. However, this following section from your post is not:

“Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors and public servants, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.”
Not sure where you get your stats from?

The phrase Political Correctness or Politically Correct (PC) has been utilized in many different contexts for different reasons. The most familiar use of PC has its origins in Stalinist Russia and it was meant to constrain language in the interests of the party line. Stalin killed over 20 million people in his purge. A famous saying from the era of course:
“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.” “Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”

Disagree - off to the Gulag. It is not white males of privilege who hold this power. Such thinking is not just racist it is sexist. PC is a weapon and it is used to assert power and dominance over another. S/he/They who control language controls thought and consequently the ability to think. You have engaged in PC through your position of where you believe power resides. It is a lazy and untrue statement.

Because we have let emotionalism run rampant we have an extremely fractured society of various minority groups asserting their rights over others. We talk about inclusivity while demanding distinctness. We talk about inclusivity while we advocate for cancelling others. You people are fudged-up!

Drop your pitchforks and torches and calm your nerves... Then look around and you will see that all genders, and all races (sic) engage in PC as an instrument of social control.

Up 16 Down 3

Josey Wales on Jan 31, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Hey BnR...
that was pretty funny, thanks for the genuine laugh "with you" not at you.
You should have woven skinny jeans into that tapestry of hilarity.

Up 55 Down 6

Yukoner on Jan 31, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Please rename Dawson, it was named after a white guy.. and also Whitehorse has white in the name, that can't be good either..

Up 58 Down 2

Yukoner123 on Jan 31, 2021 at 4:07 pm

Probably the most offensive part of this rebranding is the boring, identity-less logo they came up with. How much did the taxpayers pay to fund that circle jerk?

Up 20 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Jan 31, 2021 at 2:18 pm

Have you noticed the change in attitudes on this forum over the past while? I have been participating here for a long time and have to my recollection never seen the amount of vitriol, anger and need to share/vent these emotions with others than what we are reading now. Social media - including forums such as this one - encourage participation and the sharing of other viewpoints. Some contribute pertinent views while some others are here to vent frustration with the events of the day; a silent scream in the digital age.
It can feel relieving to post opinions to boards such as this one, but I hope that it would be intelligent and thoughtful commentary that may get a little goofy at times but remains polite and respectful.
The COVID lock-down restrictions of course are contributing to the present level of Ha-Ha in town and some are waiting for the next stinky issue to appear on our collective front yard which is already well festooned with issues.
Our community is as good as we make it, please speak up - Nicely – about what is important for you in the coming election. But don’t wait to be asked, Speak Up! To be sure, any politician worth their pay reads these posts, so tell them what's on your mind.

Up 41 Down 6

My Opinion on Jan 31, 2021 at 1:47 pm

@ Former Yukoner

You are part of the Problem. What in heavens name does this have to do with race.
Give it a rest for crying out loud. Everything does not have to be about Race.

Up 46 Down 1

Marion on Jan 31, 2021 at 12:09 pm

What this also means is they are removing the sourdough rendezvous logo for he is a sourdough Sam, the mascot will be no longer for he is a sourdough. What will be the new name for the sourdough sams??? What will pancake breakfast be? This is costing a lot of money how can a society that is struggling afford this?

Up 26 Down 2

unReal on Jan 31, 2021 at 10:07 am

Reminds me of the Coke Classic saga!
I'm a 43 year sourdough!

They forgot to put THE in front of their new name (sarcasm, okay?)

Up 70 Down 37

BnR on Jan 31, 2021 at 9:51 am

Totally fine with dropping the name. These days, Sourdough has zero relevance to the Yukon experience. They should have contests like the Timmy Shuffle, or the Baked Trot, where hardy Yukoners brave the elements clad in the latest fluffy down jackets, cradling their Skinny Chai Latte as they head back to their demanding cubicle work.

Up 36 Down 53

JC on Jan 31, 2021 at 8:26 am

Hard truths:
Rendezvous was on the decline when they moved it from Main St.
Rendezvous was only fun for young kids, and adults who spent the days doing events then getting pissed at night.
Rendezvous is a distinct creation that came from occupation by settlers. Reconcile that however you want, but it's TRUE.

Up 56 Down 8

Uncle Ted on Jan 31, 2021 at 7:54 am

When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about them (or about groups with whom they identify) we conclude that they have feelings of inferiority or low self-esteem. This tendency is pronounced among minority rights activists, whether or not they belong to the minority groups whose rights they defend. They are hypersensitive about the words used to designate minorities and about anything that is said concerning minorities. The negative connotations have been attached to these terms by the activists themselves. Some animal rights activists have gone so far as to reject the word “pet” and insist on its replacement by “animal companion”. Leftist anthropologists go to great lengths to avoid saying anything about primitive peoples that could conceivably be interpreted as negative. They want to replace the word “primitive” by “nonliterate”. They seem almost paranoid about anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own. (I do not mean to imply that primitive cultures ARE inferior to ours. I merely point out the hyper sensitivity of leftist anthropologists.)

Those who are most sensitive about “politically incorrect” terminology are not the average African American, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any “oppressed” group, but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors and public servants, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.

Up 68 Down 4

Sourdough Rendezvous on Jan 31, 2021 at 6:04 am

I guess the strippers are next.

Up 88 Down 6

Nathan Living on Jan 30, 2021 at 11:56 pm

I really do not think of sourdough as something with a negative colonial connotation.
What's next on the politically correct bad list, meat pies and Christmas cakes?

Up 64 Down 3

CJ2 on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:34 pm

@they made it political, that is so, so, so true. If they had just taken the word out and said they were streamlining it or it's a simple rebrand or something, people wouldn't be reacting anywhere near this degree. But they've called it offensive and that feels like an insult and one that manages to swipe a lot of people. It's kind of a dis-invite to the festival. I think emotional intelligence was absent from the discussion.

I'm taking the claims about threats and so on with a grain of salt. People who are on the board's side are certainly capable of dishing out insults, as we can see right here.

Up 101 Down 8

Koe on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:09 pm

My company sponsorship is out also. Can't support an organization that makes statements like “ sourdough has negative connotations “ too far left for me.

Up 44 Down 7

TheHammer on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:03 pm

The problem with the name change is the reason given for the name change. The word itself doesn't have a negative or positive connotation. The negative is in the mind of the people. The positive is in the mind of the people. But the negative connotation was linked with 'colonization', that's the negative. The only people who suffered from colonization in Yukon and Canada are the indigenous First Nations. Everyone else is a beneficiary of colonization. if they were colonized in their former country of origin they came here for a better life, or did they come to grind an axe?

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Tom Foolery on Jan 30, 2021 at 6:43 pm

Yes, the oppressive whiteness of Sourdough bread is loathsome.
The Yukon Multi Grain Festival would be a much more inclusive name.

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BonanzaJoe on Jan 30, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Maybe they should rename it Cheechaco Rendezvous - Cheechaco meaning tenderfoot. Evidently those are the ones who want to change the festival by dropping the word "Sourdough". They're afraid of the embarrassment. "Cheechaco" is the first stage that comes before "Sourdough".

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JC on Jan 30, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Somebody is using my moniker JC, between, At Home in the Yukon and Dave 47. Guess, I will have to change mine. This the second time he/she has done this.

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Jayne W on Jan 30, 2021 at 3:41 pm

I don't volunteer for this festival and never will. If the events are not my cup of tea, I just don't go. As for the rebranding....were the Corporate Sponsors made aware of this? That is where some of their money would be going towards. This festival employs 3-4 people a year with a salary, I would rather see them get a raise then spend money on rebranding. This festival needs to go back to basics and not try and please everyone...have a few great OUTDOOR events on MAIN street, Mr. Mrs Yukon, Sourdough Sam and Queen/crown pageant, dog races of some sort, fireworks, ice carvings, a few food trucks, and maybe a night of two of entertainment that is family friendly. Yikes, maybe I should be volunteering, as I seem to be a keyboard commenter.

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P'd off on Jan 30, 2021 at 3:13 pm

To anyone who is offended by the term Sourdough, for what ever knot-headed reason please remember my rights don't end when your feelings start.

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Can we now remove the Robert Service statues on Jan 30, 2021 at 2:22 pm

and monuments?

He uses the word sourdough often. Need to get that dialect gone from The Yukon.

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Dallas on Jan 30, 2021 at 2:17 pm

I sure miss the days when we had 6 weeks of -40 and a week of -50, it drove all the deadwood out and back to Vancouver and Ontario and overseas, town was fun lotsa work in the winter. Summers were awesome and the territory was for those that lived here, now..... the snowflakes are changing, becoming to sensitive, needing a safe place to call home after they left mommy and daddy’s house and now they come to the territory....

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yukon56 on Jan 30, 2021 at 2:10 pm

Cheechaco or sourdough not sure of the spelling but one is a newbie and the other veterans of the north.

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I said pardon on Jan 30, 2021 at 1:38 pm

Who cares.
The only questions people should be asking is
Will there be exotic dancers and a fireworks show this year?

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Former Yukoner on Jan 30, 2021 at 1:10 pm

Racism, alive and well in the Yukon.

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Mad Trapper of Riverdale on Jan 30, 2021 at 1:06 pm

Wow, how can an organization be so tone deaf? You'd think a festival that depends on local sponsorship and support would actually listen to the local audience before making such a poorly informed move.
Being a Sourdough is a long established badge of honour for surviving a tough Yukon winter and it makes perfect sense to use the term in a winter festival.

It's a tribute to the rugged frontier spirit that built this Territory. Everyone may not like the name, but it's inoffensive and a passionate part of the Yukon's heritage for many and sets us apart from other destinations. It's one thing to think the festival needs a branding refresh, but calling the term Sourdough offensive is an insult to many and huge blunder in knowing your customers.

After being a long term supporter and sponsor, I wont be supporting the festival this year.

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No gatekeeping on Jan 30, 2021 at 11:46 am

Man oh man Yukoners are a self entitled bunch, eh?
Urban Dictionary defines gatekeeping as “When someone takes it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity.”

Many Yukoners honestly believe that the longer you’ve been here somehow makes your opinion carry more weight. Classic Gatekeeping.
Rendezvous has been circling the drain for decades and the current board are trying to breathe new life into not just chirping from the sidelines like those that think being here 15 years (lol) give them some sort of veto power.

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Mad Trapper of Riverdale on Jan 30, 2021 at 10:01 am

Talk about being tone deaf and not knowing your audience! Go woke and go broke comes to mind .
The term Sourdough is a romantic part of the Yukon identity and a tribute to the rugged frontier spirit that built the Territory.

It’s an unoffensive term used to describe someone with the fortitude to have survived a long and tough Yukon winter.
I complete disavow the cyber bullying , but understand why people are upset and will no longer be supporting this festival that’s lost it’s way .

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Larry Clarke on Jan 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

Who is talking about bread? Anyone in the know would realize that in the early days a Sourdough was an old timer and a Chechako was a greenhorn to the territory. Therefore Sourdough Rendezvous meant a meeting of old time experienced trapper,etc. Get it right folks....

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Matthew on Jan 30, 2021 at 8:36 am

Hahah! Oh my... ANYTHING can be twisted to offend people.. grow the eff up people. Sad world when so many are offended by words..

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Matt on Jan 30, 2021 at 7:57 am

I don’t call it sourdough rendezvous. It’s been just rendezvous for me. I just don’t want the word attached to colonialism. I’m not disagreeing with addressing colonial matters but Sourdough has a much deeper meaning. It would be sad to see it disappear from history.

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yukonertoo on Jan 30, 2021 at 7:45 am

Rendezvous has slowly died ever since the festival was moved away from Main Street. I remember 1000's of people cheering on the contestants as they threw chainsaws, chopped wood, packed flour, raced dog teams and other northern activities. Political correctness has ruined our winter festival. The relatively few special interest people who attend are looking for any sign of apparent non-compliance with current PC policies. What a boor.

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A microcosm of a much (much) deeper issue on Jan 30, 2021 at 6:50 am

Dear woke left, you are no better than the far right. You are both extremists, asking the vast majority of centrists to swallow lies and gaslighting - including the silencing of your "own people". You are mirror reflections of each other and the rising tensions are leading us to very bad places. Smarten up.

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Ross on Jan 30, 2021 at 6:43 am

The outrage. Who ever said, ‘hey let’s go down to Sourdough Rendezvous tonight?” No one ever.

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Moose101 on Jan 30, 2021 at 6:01 am

How can sourdough have a negative connotation - and to who - a couple of people? Give me a break. I also see you dropped the picture of the Yukoner all bundled up in a parka with his hands in his pockets and replaced it with trees and mountains. That bundled up Yukoner represented the spirit and tradition of the festival better than a couple of spruce trees sitting on a mountain. Keep the sourdough in the name or resign I’m sure we can find a couple of true Yukoners to take your place.

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They made it political on Jan 30, 2021 at 3:19 am

Perhaps it's that people don’t realize that they’re more annoyed that everything is changing because a small group finds something offensive, sometimes far fetched, and a small group wants it changed so the rest of the population has to be compliant. Not just with this name change but all of the different changes and inclusions being forced on society. Everything offends someone these days and people are getting sick of it.

As far as the “sourdough” part of Rendezvous, who knew it was offensive until just this week? I thought if you had been in the Yukon a while, you’re a “sourdough”, if you were new, you’re a “cheechako”.

In the end, everyone calls it “Rendezvous” so why not just change it to that and not make it political? If they just said “we’re rebranding it to just Rendezvous because that’s how almost everyone refers to it” and didn’t say anything about history (which you can’t change or right the wrongs always), there would probably be very little reaction.

Rendezvous has changed a lot over the years and it’s definitely not the same spirit. Too many regulations and inclusions. I get regulations for safety but I miss traditions. Sure, some may have been sexist but if you don’t like it, don’t participate.

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Shereen Hill on Jan 29, 2021 at 11:26 pm

I can not speak for other people and I am also wondering how the word “Sourdough” had a negative spin to it. Who was consulted? Could the consultation have been done in a better way? I am also saddened that the people are threatening the staff of the society. I think further proper consultation needs to happen to make this right. Please stop the threatening behaviour as it does not help. Adults need to act like adults. Yes, born and raised in Yukon for many generations.

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CJ2 on Jan 29, 2021 at 8:32 pm

It's a new one on me, that the word "sourdough" has negative connotations. The first years that I went to Rendezvous, it was the real thing, in that it really was the first social event in months, after a long, dark, and often very cold winter. It was lots of fun, you had the run of downtown, not just Main Street. Bannock and pancake breakfasts at Skookum Jim's, sit down dinners at the CYO hall, those crazy competitions, dog races. It could get very rowdy in the bars, when live music came back after months without it.

In the mid-1980s, there was a move to de-emphasize the alcohol and make it more family-friendly. Somehow they managed to relay that message and make the transition without insulting anyone.

Anyway, clearly there is a lack of corporate memory on the board, or they might have remembered the huge kerfuffle over taking the goldpanner off license plates and replacing him with fireweed.

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Groucho d'North on Jan 29, 2021 at 8:24 pm

I am not surprised to see this reaction from a sizable portion of our community. The recent racial compensation adjustments made by the government have brought this topic to the fore and it would appear many Yukoners have had enough of these changes to our society without any input from the people who live here.
Lord save us from our saviours.

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Jason on Jan 29, 2021 at 8:18 pm

@letsgetreal ... The festival has been dying because of the changes to make it more 'inclusive' imo. Inclusive is good, but who is feeling excluded in this particular situation? No group has come forward in support, have they? Rendezvous needs to be outside and recently it has moved more indoors. No one likes that. Where's the huge tent parties? (Post covid of course) ... People want to shake off the winter blues and party and that's what rendezvous should be about. The folks who are cutting things like ice carving to have more 'inclusive' programming are completely misguided. Let's treat rendezvous for what it is/should be. A massive week-long party to shake off the winter blues and welcome spring ... Trying to turn this into some watered down and 'inclusive' (aka government fundable) is absolutely the wrong strategy. Make rendezvous great again!

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Juniper Jackson on Jan 29, 2021 at 8:12 pm

I came here in 1965. I was a "Cheechako" until 1995 or so, when Jim Robb was introducing me to someone as, 'an old "Sourdough" gal. We came from all over the Territory. Sourdough Rendezvous, a gathering of old timers. When Rendezvous first got started, the Sheffield, The Whitehorse Inn, and the New North all had to be booked as soon as summer ended to be sure you got a room.

Wonderful memories. Ring the bell in the Gold Nugget Lounge, fall off the Boardwalk in front of the Capitol. Herbies for an excellent Chinese dinner, Mimi's for after hours pot of special Yukon Tea. It could be rum tea, or vodka tea.

We got old, for a long time, our kids replaced us or went with us to various committees, boards, events. I was in the rickety jail more times than I care to count. Then, newcomers started coming to town, and change came with them. Some good, some not so good. But the sense of community the 'sourdoughs' shared, became a new modernization. I was not ready. Don Taylor fought like crazy when our electoral system changed from not party lines, all independent candidates, to party candidates and voting. (Any one still remember Don? Jeez, a true colorful 5% er. )
A name is just another sign of a new era in the Yukon. Sourdough or Cheechako has no meaning to the people that have inherited our community culture. The winds of change.. blowing hard through the whole Yukon.
Personally, because I never speak for anyone but myself, Sourdough Rendezvous ceased to be anything real special when they took it off Main Street.
I miss it. But, so many of those Sourdoughs are gone now. Traditions change, and new ones are made. A virtual Rendezvous. *sigh*.

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Sourdough on Jan 29, 2021 at 7:52 pm

The thought police have reared their ugly heads again.
My family has lived continuously in the Yukon for 123 years, hence my name.
I have enjoyed every SOURDOUGH Rendezvous since 1962 when I believe Alice Martin was crowned Queen.
History is History, if you like it or not, it can’t be rewritten to appease a few.
It’s just a name. Get over it!

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Biggest Issue of the Day on Jan 29, 2021 at 6:11 pm

Is this really the biggest issue of the day? Is anyone at all hurt by this? Come on people, literally a pandemic going on right now, move along.

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Elle McLaren on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Seems like “first world” problems. At least they didn’t take the whole festival away. There will probably still be lots to do with sourdough. Holy cow. They closed their offices to keep them safe? It’s almost as embarrassing as Vancouvers citizens trashing the city because of a Canucks game.

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Josey Wales on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:30 pm

Did public school teach an entire generation that they have some "human right" to never be offended, and engage a mere 10% of their brain?
Rhetorical...they have and do DAILY churn these idiots out with GLEE.

Maybe instead of defunding the Police, as so many rabid SJW's bleat for....
we should defund public schools, seems they are churning out some hyper entitled epic uneducated fools....clearly!

Saskrita Shresthra....who the hell does she think she is?
Check out her attitude in an article at the "state broadcaster" Wow SJW extreme.

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This Cheechacko is no wacko! on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:12 pm

Dear Anie - Sourdough bread is bad because the white colonizers of Europe in about 3500 BCE from the area known today as Switzerland probably, and most likely culturally appropriated the recipe for Sourdough bread from Africa/Egypt. It was most likely white men.

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Dave on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:07 pm

While I imagine the organizers have been getting plenty of negative postings for their unwarranted and unwanted name change I doubt they are receiving ‘threats’. They’re probably just shocked that people are standing up to them for Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous and don’t like the flavour of the day name change. They tried to drop the name Sourdough on the low down and are surprised when people are calling them on it.
What’s next are we going to lose the Yukon gold panner off the licence plate because he’s ‘not inclusive’ and may offend some of the perpetually offended types?

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TheHammer on Jan 29, 2021 at 5:07 pm

I for one would like to see the program. My recommendation for decolonization of the Rendezvous is to eliminate the English language. English is the foremost tool of the British Empire. Don't replace it with French for they too are colonizers, and don't replace it with Chinese for they too are in process of colonizing Canada. Don't replace it with Hindi or Punjabi for they have colonized their own people. I suggest a replacement by Athapaskan and Tlingit.

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Jacqualyn Cromarty on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:55 pm

That saddest part is all the former songs written, art created, etc. will now be what, destroyed? No longer displayed? Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous is known in so many places around the world and now the name is changing? How does this make any sense? I can only imagine how much money a name rebranding costs and it's sad to think that this money wasn't put towards the festival itself.

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Alice Cyr on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:53 pm

My father-in-law came into the country in 1898 via The Chilkoot. Sourdough is an honourable moniker and part of our history as well as heritage. Celebrate it!!

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At home in the Yukon on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:49 pm

Who'd have thought that the independent (Yukon) way of leavening one's bread would be "offensive".

It only goes to prove that somebody will be offended by anything, and somebody will make threats about anything. Let's dismiss the offended like we dismiss the threateners.

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JC on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:48 pm

Also, to those who say this is "revisionism," well, settler society displaced and attempted to erase millenia of history, and the declared, "This is *our* history." It was gross then, and its gross now.

Buncha whiny diaper babies. Lol forever.

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JC on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:46 pm

Yukoners complain about everything, and at very little provocation.

Buncha babies. And ya, I was "BnR" Yukoner, and I say you whiners need a diaper change and a nap.

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dave47 on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:36 pm

The new board can't have lived in the Yukon for long. This is akin to Pentiketts NDP crowd attempting to remove the Miner, a bonafide Sourdough from the license plate. How could the board be this out of touch with the rest of the Yukon? We value our heritage and the word Sourdough is part of it.

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Nathan Living on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Rendezvous has been dying for years. A name change should mean nothing.

If people want it to survive they have to change it up.

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Woodcutter on Jan 29, 2021 at 4:22 pm

With the tossing out of the iconic name, can I now claim it ?

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Bingo on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:59 pm

This is SJW in action.....not a clue about the history. Saskrita wouldn’t know a sourdough from a pine tree..totally absurd. Well Saskabush you can take your nonsensical approach somewhere else.

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Lets Get Real on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:38 pm

LOL. Everyone now has an opinion? Rendezvous has been dying for years; there is new blood behind the scenes and they are moving and shaking things up to save this event from being something of the past. Honestly good on them for creating this conversation and controversy. Bad press = Good press ; best marketing I've seen all year! I look forward to the new reloaded events and new beginnings.

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Outsider on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:33 pm

I for one am glad that someone has finally spoken up about the oppressive nature of bread. It’s well known most Trump supporters regularly eat bread. This newer, gluten free festival is just what we need for a more inclusive Yukon.

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Boo hoo! on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Bunch of snowflakes and keyboard warriors crying over a rebrand. Petitions? Threats? Complaining on social media? Boo hoo, get over yourselves and quit being so sensitive. Have you nothing better to do? I didn't think "old time Yukoners" were so precious. This life-long Yukoner has more important things to be concerned about.

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BnR on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:25 pm

Right on cue, the outraged mob hits social media.
I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve always called it Rendezvous, as in Rendezvous weekend. I don’t care one way or the other, I’ve got other, more pressing issues to deal. Go ahead, be outraged, live mad.
I hope the whole board just says fine, to hell with it, and steps down. We’ll see how many of the mob actually step up to do the work.

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The DNA DJ on Jan 29, 2021 at 3:05 pm

I am getting offended by the idea that my life is being governed by others who are offended by things.
It’s effing ridiculous!

Perhaps we can have a town-square, cage-match, in which the task is for the participants to get more offended than the other person. The person who exhibits the most offense wins. The prize is validation, and recognition for citizenship plus, and a pass to the head of the line for everything.
You will also be given credit for being a member of a particular group and accrue status by virtue of your membership that you may or may not have as a matter of your character.

However, in keeping with the times we want to ensure that the individuals offense is legitimate.
To be declared a winner you must submit to genetic testing so that your various intersectionalities can be scientifically validated. However, if you look white and identify as male you will be assumed to have privilege and be disqualified from the genetic validation process and any further consideration as a human being.

Haha, just kidding. We trust you as long as you are not whitish looking and male... Eewww!

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Anie on Jan 29, 2021 at 2:59 pm

I am trying to understand how the word sourdough has negative connotations. Not arguing, just trying to understand

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NickyB on Jan 29, 2021 at 2:57 pm

"There is some negative connotation surrounding the term 'sourdough,' and Yukon's history in general," Hickman said.
Cancel Culture to Revise History.
I suspect that few if any of the "organizers" were born here or have lived here for more than a decade.
Why not just call it: Youkon Outsiders Rendezvous

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