Ottawa man files human rights complaint against Nepean Redskins
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2013 2:01PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:24PM EDT
An Ottawa man has filed a human rights complaint against a local football club, claiming its name is racist. Ian Campeau wants to force the Nepean Redskins to change their name and their logo, which shows a First Nations individual in traditional headdress.
“It's marginalizing,” says Campeau, “It’s a completely racist term and in every modern dictionary it’s defined as offensive.”
This morning, Campeau filed a discrimination complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against the 35-year-old west Ottawa football club. Campeau says he did it on behalf of his 5-year-old daughter in an effort to get the Nepean Redskins to change its “racially offensive” name.
“I’m not a redskin. I’m not an Indian. I’m Ojibway from Nipissing First Nations, specifically. So it's robbing us of our nationalities as First Nation people.”
Campeau has the support of the Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, who is quoted as saying “I support this action because the term “redskins” is offensive and hurtful and completely inappropriate.”
The football club first fielded a team in August of 1978 and was known then as the Barrhaven Buccaneers. The club was renamed the Redskins in 1981.
Repeated calls by CTV Ottawa to the President and Vice-President of the club were not returned. The treasurer of the organization, Evelyn Turner said over the phone “I’m not commenting on that.”
Campeau was instrumental in getting Ottawa’s new professional basketball team to drop its proposed name of the Ottawa Tomahawks. The team will now be known as the Ottawa Skyhawks.
Campeau’s complaint to the Tribunal also includes a request to direct the Human Rights Commission to draft a policy on the use of indigenous identities and imagery in sports. He has proposed a five year period to phase in a new name and logo for the Nepean Redskins.