One of our rules in the Ollie and Emma project is that we leave the issue aside and just have fun with the opportunity to bring people together. That aside I think their should be some ground rules. Being the white half of a comedy team writing a multicultural project knowing where the line between funny and too far is only too apparent. It all comes down to simply respecting someone else and looking past the stereotypes which need to be finally dropped.
The problem I have with Halloween headdresses, sport teams names and so on is that it treats Native culture like it’s something of the past. We call the University of Victoria sports teams the Vikes (Vikings). We don’t call them the UVic Norwegians. There is another team I’m sure is called the Pilgrims (I will admit…I’m not especially a sports person. Apologies to those who are.). The folks who are referred to as Braves are still very much alive and active as well as the use of real ceremonial garments (and unless your entire sports team is First Nations, which would have the name make more sense). The best way to think of this is consider something that is important or sacred to yourself and ask yourself if you would want it used like a gimmick. Yeah, First Nations people don’t love that either.
This is one of the things about working with my cowriter Cheri Jacobs that I think has it’s own influence on the Ollie and Emma project. Our two cultures can work together with common respect and have lots of fun doing it. All the people who I have met have been very welcoming and free of judgement.
Community is possible.
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