More than a week after they first came to light, Justin Bieber’s comments in Rolling Stone about how he’s “Indian … Inuit, or something” and could get “free gas” in his native Canada continue to rankle in Indian country. But the Museum of Inuit Art (MIA), in Toronto, is seizing the teachable moment, waiving entrance fees for the month of August.
It’s called “No Free Gas, But Free Admission,” and it applies to everyone, not just 18-year-old multimillionaire pop stars. Although the museum would be thrilled to have him — according to a release, “MIA has reached out and offered a private tour to Bieber in order to help him learn more about Aboriginal peoples in Canada.”
“We were distressed to hear that Bieber was unaware of the differences between Inuit and First Nations peoples in Canada,” says MIA’s Executive Director David Harris, “and that he was unclear on what rights Aboriginal peoples have and do not have. It does point to the museum’s ability to be proactive and help educate the public about these issues.”
Upon learning the news, MIA took the opportunity to explain the three Aboriginal designations — Inuit, First Nations, and Metis — that exist in Canada, in a blog post titled “Thanks Justin Bieber, For Letting Us Clear Up Some Confusion.”
In a follow-up blog post, the museum announced the “No Free Gas, But Free Admission” promotion. Furthermore, the museum will give visitors a copy of its book Inuit Art in Canada if they tweet an accurate fact about Inuit or First Nations art or history with the hashtag #nofreegasbutfreeadmission.
That’s another one the museum would no doubt want Bieber to get in on, seeing as he has over 25 million followers on Twitter. Come on, Justin… free book.