New Olympic Mascot Draws Even More Criticism
|Get "Ready" for "Reddie the happy Indian".|
Organizers for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics can't seem to get anything right this week.
After receiving numerous complaints from various native organizations about the selection of Ilanaaq --a stylized, multi-coloured Inuit Inukshuk--as the official logo for the games, the Games' braintrust attempted to respond the outcry this morning by unveiling a new "associate" mascot for the Games.
But while critics argued the old mascot was inappropriate--representing the Inuit of Canada's North rather than the First Nations of British Columbia --the new mascot is even more controversial.
During the gala ceremony in Vancouver, representatives from every Aboriginal organization in attendance stormed out of the hall after "Reddie the happy Indian" was unveiled.
"I can't even begin to describe how offensive this new mascot is," said Chief Samuel Maples of a West Coast First Nation. "If the Inukshuk was a slap in the face to our people, then this is, well, more like a kick in the groin."
Roseanne Garby of the Canadian Association of First Nations' Women echoed Chief Maples.
"My God. I...I'm speechless," said a teary-eyed Garby. "After seeing that travesty, that caricature of a mascot based upon the dated, insensitive stereotypes that my people have been trying to combat all our lives, the only thing I can say is...maybe that Inukshuk thing wasn't so bad after all."
An ashen-faced Andy Scott, Minister of Indian Affairs, who was also on hand for the ceremony, could say nothing more than "this isn't good" before being abruptly whisked away by his aides.
Henry McCracker, a spokesperson for the IOC, didn't understand what all the fuss was about. "We designed this new mascot as a means to demonstrate our respect for Canada's native people. I don't understand what's so offensive about this. Some people you just can't please. I mean, look at him, all smiling and happy. He's saying, 'Vancouver is ready for the games.' Get it? Ready?"
"He's like that Cleveland Indians guy there, you know...don't you think he'll look great on a baseball hat?"
Posted on April 28th, 2005