Canadian iTunes App Store Censors the Word RedSk*n

In Uncategorized by Adrienne K.2 Comments


Ian phone

See that picture above? That’s what Ian Campeau of A Tribe Called Red sees when he searches for the word “RedSk*n” (without the asterisk) in the Canadian iphone app store. I’ve been searching online to see if there was any announcement accompanying this change, any statement about why or how this happened or who was responsible, and I’ve got nothing. But I hope we can agree that this is HUGE. It might seem like something minor or purely symbolic, but this is Apple we’re talking about.

Ogoki Learning Systems, a Native App-development company, posted about the switch on their site yesterday, citing section 19 of The Apple Developer Terms and Conditions, which states:

19. Religion, culture, and ethnicity

Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected

The interesting thing is, Apple didn’t ban the apps. They just censored the word in the app titles. And if you look in photos accompanying them, they still, of course, say the team name. Does anyone know if this is something Apple does with any other word?

But what I’m more jazzed about is the fact that this gives those of us who are fighting to “prove” the name is a slur and offensive some extra ammo in the fight. Apple is a massive household name, and carries a lot of weight in the business world. If they’ve taken a stand (at least in Canada) that this name is offensive enough to be censored, that says something. Let’s hope the US app store follows suit.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been a huge upswing in the momentum for the fight against the Washington Racist-names. Admittedly, it’s become hard to even keep up with the fast and furious news surrounding the Redsk*ns in the US and Canada. I’m not going to rehash all of the news, but you can click this link if you’d like a handy shortcut to do your own research (it’s a link to a google news search for “Redsk*ns name controversy.” Cause sometimes people forget how to google. Especially fans of Indian mascots.).

But some newer highlights:

  • Ian Campeau, Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red (mentioned above) has been fighting a local youth football team called the Nepean Redsk*ns for over three years now, and has now filed a formal Human Rights Complaint. The hatred he’s been getting has blown me away, and is showing the true racist roots of Canada’s “cultural mosaic” narrative. The comments on some of the articles and the tweets directed at him are horrible and disgusting. I completely, 110% stand with him, and have admired the grace with which he has approached the whole situation. He’s remained calm and kind, even when others have not been the same toward him.

I think what we have to do though is we have to listen. If one person is offended, we have to listen.”

“Ultimately it is Dan’s decision…But it’s something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people of a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition and history that it has for so many years…If we are offending one person, we need to be listening and making sure that we’re doing the right things to try to address that.”

  • The Onieda Nation of NY is running radio ads in the cities where the team plays this season denouncing the name as harmful. Click here to listen.

I’m leaving out a bunch, like the newest news with the lawsuit against the trademark, the letter from congress, the recent protest in Wisconsin…so feel free to share more links and news in the comments.

Just in case, somehow, you remain unconvinced of the fact that Indian mascots are hurtful, offensive, demeaning, harmful, and yes, racist, here are a bunch of previous posts on the blog. Read them. Because I already know what your comments will look like. I even made this handy bingo card:

r-word bingo


  • I’m a resident of the DC area, and I must confess for years I used the name “Redskins” without considering any of the racial implications. I’d claim childhood ignorance, but the fact of the matter is I honestly didn’t give the name much thought until the controversy started getting more press last year.

    While any story about the name controversy is quick to get flamed on the Internet, I do think that on a whole most people do want to change the name. Unfortunately team owner Dan Synder is not one of these people, and baring a miracle seems unlikely to change his mind anytime soon.

    In his defense (and I use the term loosely), he is simply upholding the “legacy” of the previous owners.

    Back in 1995 Jack Kent Cooke, the late former owner of the team, was trying to get a new stadium built for the team in DC. Because the land is technically federal property it meant that he had to go through the government. Most of the objections to the new parks construction were environmental, but apparently a there was a senator, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (D-Colo.), who introduced legislation that would require the team to change the name before the deal could be approved. Ultimately Jack Kent Cooke and the team would fail to reach a deal and they would end up building a stadium in Landover, Md.


    Of course, we can thank the team’s original owner, George Preston Marshall, for the name. A man so racist he refused to integrate the team until 1962, and even then he only did that because the government wouldn’t let them move into their new stadium (in fact, his reputation was so bad that their first African-American draft pick, Ernie Davis, immediately demanded a trade saying “I won’t play for that S.O.B.”).

    Bringing this round full circle, the team would like to move back into DC proper. However DC Mayor Vincent Gray said back in January that the team must consider a name change if they want to move back. To my knowledge, there has been no discussion since then about moving the team back in.


  • SuburbanBushwacker

    In the Uk during the late 80’s there was a band and minor political movement called red-skins meaning left wing skin heads, a friend tells me they had them in spain too. Your thoughts?