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October 1948
The “Thunderbird” Name Is Endorsed
1948 - Thunderbird Name Endorsed...

In 1948, Chief William Scow, his son, Alfred (a UBC law student) and the Neel family of the Kwikwasut’inuxw First Nation officially grant UBC permission to use the Thunderbird name for its sports teams. A totem pole carved by Ellen Neel is gifted to the university to help establish a bond between the Aboriginal community and the campus. Alfred Scow would go on to be the first Aboriginal person to graduate from UBC’s law school and be appointed to the Bench. To learn more about the long history of the university’s interactions with Aboriginal people and communities, visit the Hidden History website at