A Tribe Called Red’s “Caucasians” T-shirt sparks accusations of racism
A Juno-award winning DJ group has been accused of racism.
The First Nations trio A Tribe Called Red has apparently sparked calls for a boycott after one of its members wore a T-shirt that plays off the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team.
Promotional photographs show Ian Campeau (aka DJ NDN) sporting an ironic version of the Cleveland jersey that's been altered to read “Caucasians” instead of “Indians”. It also includes a white head with a dollar sign above it instead of the baseball team logo’s Indian face and feather.
According to a message Campeau posted on Instagram, at least one concert promoter has received emails calling for the cancellation of a show scheduled for June 13-15.
“So we're suppose to play Westfest next Sunday,” Campeau wrote. “The organizers have been receiving thinly-veiled threatening emails in protest to me performing. Here's one of them. This is my hometown. So disappointing.”
Campeau also posted a screenshot of one email allegedly received by the concert promoter. It reads in part: “I must take issue with you booking a racist, hypocritical band, A Tribe Called Red. If any non-Native band featured some of the song they do like Indian Girl, no doubt TRC member, Ian Campeau, who has been showing wearing a racist t-shirt, would be making a complaint to the human rights commission”.
In September 2013, Campeau filed a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against the Nepean Redskins, an Ottawa football club. Soon after, that organization changed its name to Eagles.
Political controversy isn’t anything new to A Tribe Called Red. During a February 2014 show in Vancouver, host Ostwelve shared these thoughts on oil developments in Western Canada: “Fuck the pipelines, stop Kinder Morgan, and while we're at it, fuck Stephen Harper.”
A Tribe Called Red promotional materials also include DJ Bear Witness wearing an unaltered Chicago Blackhawks hat and necklace. The email sent to Westfest calling for a boycott does not appear to have included complaints about those logos.
The “Caucasians” t-shirt is available at ShelfLifeClothing.com for $22.