"My five-year-old daughter asked me: Am I a redskin?"
OTTAWA, Sept. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - An Ottawa man has filed a discrimination
complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on behalf of his
five-year-old daughter in an effort to get the Nepean Redskins Football
Club to change its racially offensive name.
"The players call each other 'redskins' on the field," said Ian Campeau,
an Ojibway father, musician and DJ. "How are they going to
differentiate the playing field from the school yard? What's going to
stop them from calling my daughter a redskin in the school yard? That's
as offensive as using the n-word."
Mr. Campeau's Human Rights submission has won the support of Assembly of
First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, and the Native
Women's Association of Canada. He is asking the Human Rights Tribunal
to order the National Capital Amateur Football Association, which
fields teams at various age levels using the Redskins name, to change
the name and logo, which includes a cartoon depiction of a Native man.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo said: "I
support this action because the term 'redskins' is offensive and
hurtful and completely inappropriate. First Nations are too often
exposed to racism and discrimination and I do not want to see any young
Indigenous child hurt because their peers use this term in the mistaken
belief that it is acceptable. This complaint to the Human Rights
Tribunal speaks to the broader need for greater public awareness,
education and understanding about First Nations people and our shared
history and priorities. Our preference always is to work together to
reach respectful outcomes and it is unfortunate that this step must be
taken as a last resort. It is time to banish the term 'redskins.'"
Mr. Campeau is being supported in his submission by Barbara McIsaac and
Qajaq Robinson of the national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)
on a pro bono basis.
The filing also asks the Tribunal to direct the Human Rights Commission
to draft a policy on the use of indigenous identities and imagery in
sports. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the governing
body for college sports in the United States, banned the use of Native
names and symbols nearly 10 years ago, except where a Native Nation has
consented. The Seminole Nation, in the southeastern U.S., has allowed
Florida State University to call its sports teams the Seminoles.
Mr. Campeau does not seek financial damages. He has proposed a five-year
period to phase in a new name and logo. He has also offered to work
with the Football Club on possible solutions, or to work with the Club
and a mediator to settle the dispute, but the Club has not responded.
"I've offered to volunteer DJ and to help raise funds to offset costs,
as have other artists and musicians, as the uniforms have to be
replaced every year or two anyway," he said. "I've proposed many
different options to change this offensive, hurtful and non-inclusive
situation. It's marginalizing, dehumanizing and racial profiling. If my
daughter wanted to play football, or even watch it, she wouldn't feel
SOURCE: Ketchum Public Relations Canada
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