Candian tourist Seeka Veevee Parsons’ comments about New Zealand’s iconic Eskimo lollies caused a furore yesterday. The 21-year-old Inuit was surprised by the many negative responses to her claim Eskimo was a derogatory name for her people. You can read her own explanation for her stance here:
Well I am very surprised at some of the comments on this story but also thank the people who have the same insight into this situation. I did not bring this issue up to offend any residents of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the product and to help you understand how the term Eskimo makes me feel.
I offer you my point of view and only wanted to share with you the correct term for my people. Yes, there is much to be discovered in this world and I feel that it is my right to stand up for the Inuit people and to speak out for those who do not have a voice here.
I am happy that you have enjoyed these lollies for such a long time.
I just ask if you have ever been to the Canadian Arctic or met an Inuit person before? Have you had a chance to learn about our rich culture?
I didn't actually say "ancient" culture but we do have a very diverse and beautiful culture in our country.
For so long, our people were discriminated against by others and treated in a horrible manner. There was an attempt to eliminate our culture and way of life.
European settlers of Canada wanted us to assimilate into their way of life and hence brought disgraceful tragedy to our people.
You may not understand what I am saying but what I say comes from my heart and from the history of my family and Inuit people.
I just want to get the message out about the term Eskimo, to educate people and to ask that we all be treated with respect, non-discrimination, and equality.
Say what you like but I know my past and I continue to discover my future and will always stand up for what I believe in.
Taranaki Daily News