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Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
METAL, INK
Catalogue Number
P20180029006
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1980
Date Range To
1990
Materials
METAL, INK
No. Pieces
1
Diameter
2.6
Description
SILVER PIN WITH SILVER BACKING. FRONT OF BUTTON HAS RED BORDER AROUND WHITE BACKGROUND; BORDER HAS SILVER TEXT “WHO IS THE MINORITY IN CANADA?”; CENTER SHOWS A CARICATURED CAUCASIAN MAN IN THE MIDDLE WITH CARICATURED FIGURES OF A MIDDLE-EASTERN MAN, AN ASIAN MAN, AND AN AFRICAN MAN BEHIND AND TO THE SIDES. BACK OF PIN HAS ENGRAVED CROSS-HATCHING WITH EMBOSSED TEXT AT BOTTOM “TAIWAN”. OVERALL EXCELLENT CONDITION.
Subjects
PERSONAL SYMBOL
Historical Association
COMMEMORATIVE
History
ON DECEMBER 21, 2018, GALT MUSEUM CURATOR AIMEE BENOIT INTERVIWED KEVIN MACLEAN REAGARDING HIS DONATION OF PERSONAL OBJECTS. ON THE ACQUISITION OF THE PIN, IT WAS NOTED, “MY [MEMORY] IS THAT ON 16TH AVENUE NORTH TO THE EAST OF CENTRE STREET [IN CALGARY], THERE WAS A FLEA MARKET WITH VENDORS. THERE WAS A VENDOR IN THERE THAT WAS SELLING [THE PINS].” “IN THE LATE ‘80S, EARLY 1990S…THERE’S A MEMBER OF THE [NATIONAL] SIKH COMMUNITY WHO WANTS TO WEAR A TURBAN AS A MEMBER OF THE R.C.M.P. THERE’S A LOT OF ANGST BY PEOPLE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THIS SHOULD BE THE CASE AND THERE’S A BACKLASH THAT IS HAPPENING. I THINK SOME OF THAT BACKLASH IS COMING OUT OF SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND OUT OF LETHBRIDGE.” “AT THE SAME TIME, IN THE EARLY 1990S…YOU HAVE THE RISE OF THE QUEBEC SEPARATIST MOVEMENT OUT IN EASTERN CANADA. YOU HAVE THIS RISE OF WESTERN VALUE-TYPE STUFF AND PEOPLE FEEL, MAYBE, AS THOUGH THEY’RE BEING CHALLENGED. SO YOU HAVE THE REFORM PARTIES COMING UP. [BECAUSE] I’M A NEWS JUNKIE, I’M ACTIVELY INTERESTED IN THAT. THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME, IN 1992, THAT I ATTENDED A NOMINATION FOR A POLITICAL PARTY…IT WAS A REFORM PARTY [NOMINATION IN 1992]…I REMEMBER BEING AT THE ENMAX. I REMEMBER THE OTHER COMPETING NOMINEES AND I REMEMBER THE POLITICS OF THAT PARTICULAR MEETING. WITH THE UPCOMING ELECTION, A LOT OF MY MOTIVATION [I VOTED REFORM] WAS THAT THERE WAS A GREAT POTENTIAL THAT THE PQ WAS GOING TO FORM THE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION IN CANADA AND I JUST THOUGHT, THERE’S NO WAY THAT CAN HAPPEN.” “[I HAVE BEEN] ASHAMED [OF HAVING IT] BUT I RECOGNIZED THAT IT’S MATERIAL CULTURE. IT HAS POTENTIAL HISTORIC VALUE. THAT’S WHY IT’S BEEN KEPT. IT’S JUST THAT I COULD NOT BRING MYSELF TO SHARE THAT IT WAS IN MY POSSESSION AND THAT I BOUGHT IT.” “IT WOULD BE HARD TO SAY [WHAT THE RESPONSE TO THE PRODUCTION AND SALE OF THE PIN WAS AT THE TIME] BECAUSE OUTSIDE OF MY IMMEDIATE CIRCLE…THAT CIRCLE WOULD BE CERTAINLY IN FAVOUR OF THIS THOUGHT. I DON’T REMEMBER ANY RESPONSE FROM LOCALS…AS AN EXAMPLE, IF THIS [PIN] WAS BEING SOLD TODAY, MAYBE EVEN PRODUCED IN LETHBRIDGE, THERE WOULD BE PROTESTS. DO I REMEMBER ANYTHING LIKE THAT BACK, THEN? NOT AT ALL. IT’S REALLY EASY TO TARGET PEOPLE AND FEEL THIS WAY ABOUT PEOPLE WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO INTERACT WITH THEM OR SEE THEM. THEY’RE NOT EVEN ON THE LANDSCAPE SO IT’S REALLY EASY ‘CAUSE AGAIN, IT’S REALLY ABSTRACT, I THINK.” ON HIS DONATION OF THE PIN, MACLEAN ELABORATED, “I’M OBVIOUSLY CONSCIOUS ABOUT CONFORMITY AND, FOR THE MOST PART…[PEOPLE] NOT ONLY WOULD WORK TO LOOK THE SAME…THEY DID [DRESS] THE SAME—SAME RUNNERS, SAME BLUE JEANS, TEE-SHIRT—GENERALLY SPEAKING, THROUGH THE ‘70S AND ‘80S, INTO THE ‘90S. I DON’T THINK THERE WAS A LOT OF DIVERSITY REFLECTED IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA. THAT’S MY OPINION. THERE CERTAINLY WASN’T OUT IN PICTURE BUTTE AND WHEN I’M VISITING LETHBRIDGE, I’M NOT SEEING IT OUTSIDE OF THE TRADITIONAL DIVERSITY WHICH WOULD BE JAPANESE-CANADIANS, WHICH WOULD BE HUTTERITES IN DOWNTOWN LETHBRIDGE, WHICH WOULD BE MEMBERS OF THE CHINESE POPULATION. THE OTHER THING IS THAT BECAUSE THE JAPANESE-CANADIANS ARE REPRESENTED OUT IN PICTURE BUTTE, I’M DATING A MEMBER OF [THE JAPANESE-CANADIAN] COMMUNITY AS WELL BY 1985.” “I STARTED ATTENDING UNIVERSITY IN THE SPRING OF ’92, AND THEN THE PEOPLE WHO I WOULD HAVE BEEN SHARING TIME WITH, I WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SHARING TIME WITH ANYMORE. I THINK YOUR OUTLOOK BECOMES MUCH BROADER WHEN YOU’RE AT THE UNIVERSITY. THAT’S WHEN THE CHANGE HAPPENED. [THE PIN IS FROM AROUND] 1991 AND I’M IN UNIVERSITY BY 1992. I WOULDN’T SAY THAT THERE WAS THIS LIGHT SWITCH [MOMENT]. THAT WOULDN’T BE THE CASE BUT IT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED RELATIVELY SOON AFTER I STARTED UNIVERSITY.” “I WOULD HOPE THAT [THE PIN] COULD BE USED IN SOME POSITIVE WAY TO CAST THE LIGHT ON CRAPPINESS…I LIKE TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE THAT [COMMUNITY VALUES ARE] CHANGING BUT THEN I KNOW, AT THE SAME TIME, THAT THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HAVEN’T CHANGED. THE DIFFERENCE THOUGH, I THINK, IS THAT WE’RE A MUCH MORE DIVERSE PLACE IN 2018 AND I THINK IT STARTED TWENTY YEARS AGO.” “[THE PIN] SHOULD HAVE BEEN THROWN OUT BUT I THINK I RECOGNIZED IT FOR WHAT IT WAS; THAT POTENTIALLY IT COULD BE USED FOR GOOD NOW, THIRTY YEARS LATER, TO TELL A BROADER STORY ABOUT SOMETHING THAT STILL, TO SOME EXTENT, EXISTS TODAY.” ACCORDING TO ARTICLES FROM THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, MEDICINE HAT NEWS, AND BRANDON SUN [MANITOBA], IN 1989 RCMP COMMISSIONER NORM INKSTER ANNOUNCED HIS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGES TO THE RCMP UNIFORM TO ALLOW SIKH MEN TO WEAR CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS TURBANS AND BEARDS. FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT, IN 1989, BILL HIPSON OF CALGARY BEGAN PRODUCING PINS WITH THE DESIGN OF A SIKH MAN IN TURBAN AND RCMP UNIFORM, WITH TEXT WRITTEN DIAGONALLY ACROSS THE IMAGE “KEEP THE RCMP CANADIAN”. BY OCTOBER 1989, FACING BACKLASH ACROSS CANADA FOR THE DISCRIMINATORY MESSAGING OF THE PIN, HIPSON AGREED TO END PRODUCTION OF THE PIN AFTER FULFILLING PENDING ORDERS, HOWEVER INDICATED THAT OTHER DESIGNS MIGHT BE RELEASED. IN DECEMBER 1989, PETER KOUDA OF CALGARY BEGAN PRODUCING A PIN WITH THE DESIGN OF A CAUCASIAN MAN SURROUNDED BY THREE INDIVIDUALS OF VISIBLE MINORITIES, WITH TEXT AROUND THE PIN EDGE “WHO IS THE MINORITY IN CANADA?” THE PIN WAS SOLD ACROSS CANADA FOR $5.00. IN THE LATE 1980S AND EARLY 1990S, QUOTES ON STATISTICS FROM NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS INDICATED THAT VISIBLE MINORITIES COMPRISED 6.3% OF THE CANADIAN POPULACE. IN JANUARY 1990, AFTER FACING NATIONAL CONDEMNATION FROM COMMUNITIES AND POLITICIANS, KOUDA BEGAN SELLING THE PIN INDEPENDENTLY WHEN SELLERS AND SUPPLIERS DROPPED IT FOR ITS DISCRIMINATORY MESSAGING, FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING CUSTOMERS OF VISIBLE MINORITIES. KOUDA CONTINUED TO SELL THE PIN, WITH NATIONAL PROTESTS TO HAVE CHARGES LAID FOR INCITING HATE PROPAGANDA. MANITOBA’S JUSTICE MINISTER, JAMES (JIM) MCCRAE DETERMINED THAT PRODUCTION OF THE PIN COULD NOT BE HALTED WITH CRIMINAL CHARGES, STATING THAT THE PINS COULD NOT BE DEFINED AS PROMOTING HATRED UNDER THE CANADIAN CRIMINAL CODE. CANADIAN CUSTOMS AND REVENUE CANADA ALSO STATED THAT THE PINS WERE NOT CLASSIFIED AS HATE PROPAGANDA UNDER THE CRIMINAL CODE, AND ALLOWED IMPORTATION OF THE PINS INTO CANADA. ON THE PINS, ALBERTA CULTURE MINISTER DOUG MAIN IN 1990 STATED THAT THEY WERE AN ISSUE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ALBERTA, AND NOT NECESSARILY FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA, ACCORDING TO A QUOTE FROM A LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLE. IN FEBRUARY OF 1990, A CALENDAR PRODUCED BY HERMAN BITTNER OF LANGDON, ALBERTA BROUGHT ABOUT SIMILAR CHALLENGES OF HATE PROPAGANDA. BITTNER POSED IN A PHOTOGRAPH FOR THE CALENDAR AS A SIKH MAN IN A TURBAN AND RCMP UNIFORM, WITH THE PHOTOGRAPH CAPTIONED “SGT. KAMELL DUNG” AND THE INSCRIPTION “IS THIS CANADIAN OR DOES THIS MAKE YOU A SIKH?” JUSTICE MINISTER MCCRAE STATED THAT THE POSTER CONSTITUED INCITEMENT TO HATRED, AND THAT HE WOULD CHARGE ANYONE POLICE FOUND SELLING THE CALENDARS. THE 1990 CALENDAR WAS THEN BEING DISTRIBUTED BY TRAVELLING SALESMEN IN BARS ACROSS CANADA. A SECOND POSTER FEATURING DISCRIMINATORY MESSAGING AND IMAGES OF MULTIPLE VISIBLE MINORITIES EMERGED IN 1991. THE POSTER WAS ATTRIBUTED TO THE “ROYAL CANADIAN MULTICULTURAL POLICE”, WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHS COPYRIGHTED TO “HERMAN B.” [BITTNER]. THE WIDESPREAD MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE DISCRIMINATORY PINS AND CALENDARS GARNERED FURTHER SUPPORT FOR PROTESTS AGAINST SIKH MEN WEARING TRADITIONAL TURBANS AND BEARDS IN THE RCMP. THE PINS AND CALENDAR SAW HIGHER SALES AND DEMAND FOR THE PRODUCTS IN SHOPS ACROSS CANADA, AS STATED BY KOUDA AND BITTNER IN ARTICLES FROM 1990. IN 1990, FEDERAL SOLICITOR GENERAL PIERRE CADIEUX APPROVED THE DECISION TO ALLOW SIKH MEN TO WEAR TURBANS AND BEARDS IN THE RCMP. THE DECISION WAS MET WITH A PROTESTING PETITION SIGNED BY OVER 200,000 CANADIANS, ACCORDING TO ARTICLES FROM 1990. FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING ARTICLES FROM THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD, BRANDON SUN, MEDICINE HAT NEWS, AND THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE P20180029001-GA.
Catalogue Number
P20180029006
Acquisition Date
2018-12
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail