Indigenous or Native mascots need to end, and Indigenous mascot activist Brad Gallant believes their removal will change a culture of Indigenous racism. Gallant believes that through Indigenous mascots, people learn that it is okay to treat Indigenous people as inferior. Indigenous mascots allow themes of white supremacy to fester in mainstream society and demonstrate the tenuous nature of life and liberty. He hopes to use this platform to challenge listeners to evaluate their acceptance of redface racism and to analyze how their tolerance of Indigenous racism contributes to a less accepting world.
Gallant was born in Corner Brook, NL in 1968 to Joseph and Mary, both of mixed descent. Raised as a Canadian, Gallant was always aware of his muted indigenous ancestry. While he does not appear indigenous, appearance can vary in mixed families, he learned from childhood to judge people by character not appearance. Gallant was a member of the Elmastogoeog Mi’kmaq band that merged into the Qalipu Band in 2011. With Indigenous status, Gallant he learned more about the Indigenous experience in North America. Gallant saw parallels between the crude “Newfie” jokes and stereotypes that he encounters in professional situations and the vitriol that Indigenous people endure at every turn. The realization of the casual acceptance of overt racism shocked him.
He followed the Indigenous mascot controversy after the Washington NFL trademark decision in 2014. He was surprised when Notre Dame, where he received an MBA, played at FedEx field vs Navy, and sold tickets through the team website. Neither side commented on the mascot or slur. In 2015. a member of an Indigenous mascot hockey team tried to recruit his daughter. Gallant declined to play for the Indigenous mascoted team. Gallant was infuriated when the member responded to get over it, it would never change. So, Gallant executed a strategy to challenges the enablers of Indigenous mascots: the cities who fund and allow teams to display their wares, the schools who allow used native mascots and allowed students to display them in school, and soon sponsors who financially support Indigenous discrimination.
When Gallant started, there were over 40 teams in Ontario using Indigenous mascots. Most schools have removed or will remove Indigenous mascots. With the support of Amnesty International and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Mississauga will remove Indigenous mascot logos from their arenas. The Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board has agreed to ban native mascot wear in its schools. Work by the Ontario Human Rights Commission on Gallant's Mississauga Case lead to the Douglas Cardinal vs MLB case in 2016, and eventually the removal of Chief Wahoo.
But now, Gallant wants the corporate sponsors who create hostile environments for their indigenous employees, to end their association the creeping racism of Indigenous mascots. To make the financial model for Indigenous mascoted teams not viable. It is our society after all. We can choose to become better. http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-settlement-addresses-harmful-impact-stereotypes-indigenous-youth
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