Aboriginal groups say an Edmonton fraternity’s offensive fundraiser shows that First Nations people still have to deal with negative stereotypes.
The western-themed fundraising event, named "Western Bros and Nava-hoes," was planned by the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was to be held at the Ranch Roadhouse.
“It made me feel, like, demeaned, like less than,” said Gail Gallagher, an Aboriginal Studies student at the University of Alberta.
“It's like culturally appropriating an aboriginal group like the Navajos.”
Gallagher says she complained to the fraternity about the name of the event, which was then changed. The president of the frat called her with an apology.
He added the frat will be working with aboriginal alumni to teach members about culturally sensitivity.
CBC News was unable to reach him for comment.
According to the Ranch, the event was named and planned by the frat. In a message on its Facebook site, the bar apologized to people who complained and said the event had been cancelled.
The president of the U of A’s Native Studies Student Association says the fundraiser may not have been offensive on purpose, but that it's an example of inadvertent stereotypes that aboriginals still come up against.
“There are 500 missing and murdered aboriginal women and some think it's okay for someone to come up with a name they think is clever — 'Nava-hoes' — and that's seriously not okay,” said Kirsten Lindquist.
Lindquist says there should be a place on campus for students of different cultural backgrounds to come together.
“This place, or this building is going to act as this space where aboriginal and non-aboriginal people can learn about the diverse cultures we share.”
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