Krispy Kernels snacks slammed over 'Little Indian' logo
Quebec potato chip company says loincloth-clad mascot is 'retro,' not racist
A Quebec potato chip company is facing criticism for reviving a “retro” logo of a native boy wearing a headdress and loincloth.
Krispy Kernels snack foods removed the "Little Indian" logo from their Yum Yum potato chips during the Oka Crisis in 1990.
The company has now decided to bring pack the image on a "vintage edition" chip bag.
As part of the marketing campaign, customers can also submit a photo of themselves poking their faces through a cardboard cut-out of the bare-bellied native boy wearing nothing but a loincloth.
The cutout will be distributed to convenience stores across the province.
Irkar Beljaars, a Montreal-based Mohawk journalist, said he is surprised the company would revive the campaign, which he considers 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.
The native mascot was introduced in 1959 when the Yum Yum brand was founded.
The company changed its packaging during the Oka Crisis — a land dispute involving a Mohawk community outside of Montreal that resulted in a police officer's death.
But Beljaars said the campaign is offensive and inappropriate.
“I'd like to see Canadians not automatically go to saying, 'Oh you're being oversensitive,'" said Beljaars. "No, we're just trying to protect what it means to be native.”