Crystal Saunders wanted to sing the song "Eskimo" with some friends at a fundraiser last week at Samuel Hearne Secondary School. Staff there turned down her request to perform the song on the basis that the word "Eskimo" might be considered offensive—a point that Saunders, who is Inuvialuit, disagrees with.
"It shouldn't be," she told CBC News. "[For] some people it would be, but those people might need to build up a little bit more humour and take it easy."
The song, which is attributed to the Canadian comedy group Corky and the Juice Pigs from its 1993 debut album, includes the lyrics: "I go out seal hunting with my best friend Tarka, but all I want to do is get into his parka. I'm the only gay Eskimo in my tribe."
The song also includes the lines: "These cold winter nights are taking their toll, I even get excited when I see the North Pole. I'm the only gay Eskimo ... I'm the only one I know."
Vice-principal Lorne Guy said Inuvialuit elders have told him using the word "Eskimo" is unacceptable, adding that the song's references to homosexuality may also have played a part in the school's decision.