Mississauga removing all Indigenous symbols from sports teams and facilities
A settlement agreement between the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the City of Mississauga is being hailed today as a victory for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across the country.
Wow, big news! Mississauga agrees to remove all Indigenous sports mascots. Great work Brad Gallant and your legal team! Amazing!— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) December 13, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HUMAN RIGHTS CASE SETTLES: CITY OF MISSISSAUGA TO REMOVE... https://t.co/xOKwjVNxuc
Brad Grallant, a Mississauga resident of Mi'kmaq ancestry, first filed a complaint against his city in 2015 over its subsidization of youth sports teams with Indigenous names and logos.
The resulting case caught the attention of Ontario's Human Rights Commission, which called the logos in question "insensitive to the ancestry of Indigenous people" and further worked to highlight the impacts of racism and cultural appropriation on Indigenous youth through the case.
Five hockey organizations in particular were named by Gallant, whose children play hockey, in his complaint: The Mississauga Braves, the Mississauga Chiefs, the Mississaugua Reps, Lorne Park Ojibwa and the Meadowvale Mohawks (which now go more simply by 'The Hawks').
At the time, there were at least 40 youth teams in Ontario with mascots derived from Indigenous culture.
When I see @Redskins sign #ReubenFoster, I am reminded that people in the @NFL @ESPN @Rogers @Bell @NFLPA @FCC #CBSC @CivilRights @CdnHumanRights @OntHumanRights let this man's economic interests perpetuate racism in society. His values are not reflective of our societies. pic.twitter.com/xncQITbnuB— Brad Gallant (@BradGGallant) November 28, 2018
"Despite some of the progress we have made as a society, the reality is that every single day in this country, Indigenous people face discrimination," said Gallant in a statement this week announcing that the case had been resolved.
"We need to work to tear down the structures of discrimination, and we can start with the continued use of Indigenous peoples as
mascots for sports teams," he continued. "These types of images and mascots are harmful and have a negative effect on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids."
Thanks to his efforts, the City of Mississauga has agreed to strip all sports facilities of any Indigenous-themed "mascots, symbols, names and imagery related to non-Indigenous sports organizations."
The city has also pledged to expand its diversity training to address reconciliation and develop a policy related to the use of Indigenous images and themes at its sports facilities.
Great work Brad Gallant and legal team! Canada's 6th-largest city is removing all Indigenous-themed mascots, symbols, names and images from its sports facilities. The city of Mississauga, is making the move as part of an agreement with the province's Human Rights Tribunal. 🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/WRjSf0EtKf— Ekta Singh (@Msektateacher) December 13, 2018
Further to this, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board school board has agreed to "end the use of Indigenous logos and mascots at its schools" as a result of Gallant's complaint.
The School Board is also amending its dress codes to prohibit students from wearing Indigenous mascots on clothing or bags both at school and when attending school-related events.
"I want to make sure that my daughters and other Indigenous kids won't have to be confronted by these hurtful images and logos when they go to school," said Gallant in a press release today.
"In time, I hope that together these commitments by Mississauga's institutions can play a small role in helping Canadians reconcile themselves with our culture's tolerance of Indigenous racism, and seek to change."
City of Mississauga
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