November 08, 2013

Natives protest Yum Yum logo

Krispy Kernels snacks slammed over 'Little Indian' logo

Quebec potato chip company says loincloth-clad mascot is 'retro,' not racist“It's just like ‘look at that, I'm pretending to be an Indian,’” said Beljaars.

“You're just perpetuating racial stereotypes. You're just continuing to mock us by doing things like this.”

Beljaars said other members of the province's aboriginal community have contacted the company about the campaign, asking for the logo to be removed.

In response, Krispy Kernels released a statement saying the packaging is a nod to the founder of the potato chip, who was native.

The company said the caricature on the package is a return to the company's roots, and is not meant to be mocking.

A myth debunked: No, “yum yum” is not the Algonquin word for “potato”

By Don MacphersonYum Yum’s marketing director told TVA the mascot is based on a child’s drawing for a contest. It was chosen by the company’s founder, who was of aboriginal descent, to go with the name he had given the company, “which, I am told, means ‘potato’ in Algonquin.”

Really? The familiar expression “yum, yum” also happens to be the Algonquin word for “potato?”

That sounded too good to be true. So, doing my duty as a journalist to, er, dig up the truth about the “yum yum,” I sent an email to the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council, which comprises Quebec’s seven Algonquin communities.

“That’s a good one,” replied Norm Odjick, the Algonquin council’s director-general. “I’ve never heard of ‘yum yum’ as the word for potato in Algonquin. For us it’s ‘padak’ for ‘potato,’ and ‘padakan’ for ‘potatoes.’ Another word that can be used is ‘opinig.’

“Thanks for your email. I needed a laugh today.”
Comment:  Let's go through the company's excuses:

It's a racist nod to the founder that looks nothing like the founder.

It's not meant to be mocking, but it's mocking anyway. It portrays real people as childish cartoon characters.

The claim that "Yum Yum" is an Algonquin word is false. Is the founder's aboriginal heritage also false?

Does the company have any other defenses for this insulting move? Because we haven't heard a legitimate one yet.

For more on the subject, see Yum Yum Revives "Little Indian."

Below:  "The original Yum Yum mascot was introduced in 1959 when the potato chip company was founded." (Krispy Kernels)

A Native boy who looks like a chipmunk or a beaver? And that isn't a complete mockery of Native people? Yeah, right.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Quebec snack-maker criticized for bringing back native logo

"Indigenous peoples are more than these stereotypes," one person posted. "This kind of image does not belong in the 21st century. I'm sorry if this racist image is part of your childhood."

The grand chief from a Mohawk community near Montreal told a radio station last week the campaign was in bad taste.

And the editor of the local paper in that community, Kahnawake, said some people can't believe the image has resurfaced.

"It's a horrible caricature of what one person thought that all native people should be represented with," said Steve Bonspiel, editor of the Eastern Door.

"What if they'd used any other ethnicity? What kind of outrage would there have been?"

Bonspiel said he remembers Yum Yum Chips growing up but, back then, no one made a fuss about the logo. Bonspiel says perhaps people weren't as politically active or conscious about history and debunking myths.

"Because it's native people, it's accepted and it's been done for so many years, people think (it's) no big deal," Bonspiel said.

"But we see everything wrong with it."