Ian Campeau says that it was a simple question from his five-year-old daughter that pushed him to file a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on her behalf.
"Am I a Redskin?" his daughter asked.
Campeau is better known as Deejay NDN, member of and frequent spokesman for Canadian electronic dance music act A Tribe Called Red. The complaint is directed at the Nepean Redskins, an Ottawa, Ontario-based organization that fields club football teams for youth players who are nine to 19 years of age.
"The players call each other 'redskins' on the field," Campeau said. "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."
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo has voiced his support for Campeau's move. "I support this action because the term 'redskins' is offensive and hurtful and completely inappropriate," he said, according to a Canada Newswire report. "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.'"
Campeau has waged a steady campaign against the Nepean club's name from his @deejayndn Twitter account, and has proposed a plan to change the name without inconveniencing the team. "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 welcome." Click here to read the full release.