Canadian Inuit woman at centre of tempest for denouncing name of New Zealand treat
Apr 23, 2009 04:30 AM
VANCOUVER–By her own calculation, Canadian tourist Seeka Lee Veevee Parsons is one unpopular woman in New Zealand right now –just because of what she insists she is not: an Eskimo.
The Inuit woman is garnering headlines – and animosity – for suggesting a favourite New Zealand candy, the Eskimo Lolly, is racist and improper.
Veevee Parsons said yesterday she has been shocked at the hostility she has created in the country she loved from the time she arrived two months ago by simply raising the issue of the candy she saw recently in a New Zealand store.
"Calling someone an Eskimo is no longer responsible," said the 21-year-old Parsons, who is from Nunavut but has been on an extended work holiday in New Zealand.
"When I was a kid, they used to call me a dirty Eskimo girl and it's a term that shouldn't be used anymore especially on a candy. Is it right that people go around eating shapes of people of another culture?"
The Eskimo Lolly, described as "cherished" and a "treasure" to New Zealanders, is a multi-coloured marshmallow candy in the shape of a person wearing a thick hooded jacket in front of an igloo.
Ever since the story about her complaint aired on one television station earlier this week, Veevee Parsons has been interviewed nearly a dozen times and viewers and readers have been responding by the thousands to her concerns. Most of the response has been personal attacks against Veevee Parsons, with a few telling her to go home and others insisting she shut up. "I eat jelly babies. It doesn't mean that I like to bite small children. It's just confectionary," wrote one reader. "If you don't like it, how about you don't buy it!"