New mas’ sections to replace Iroquois in ‘Oh Canada’

Bandleader Marcus Eustace confirmed yesterday that  he will not he having a section of Iroquois mas’  in his 2017  presentation of ” Oh Canada”  at the Toronto Caribbean Carnival., as originally planned.

Instead, he will be  presenting   sections of  Amerindians  from his native Trinidad  and  Tobago  – the  Caribs and the Arawaks.

As he pointed out,  he will be  paying  tribute to” the culture, history and heritage of Trinidad and Tobago, the mecca of carnival.”

But why the change  from Canadian Indian mas ‘to a portrayal of the people from the First Nations” of  Trinidad and  Tobago ?

Eustace explained that he  ran into problems  soon after his band launching a few weeks ago  at which he  presented Iroquois costumes.

The beautiful plumed costumes were highly praised by mas’ aficionados.

But they were not certainly not well received by some First Nation people who saw photographs of several female “Indian” mas’ players .

Deputy Grand Chief  Denise Stonefish  of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians  (AIAI), in a news release, called for the traditional  indigenous headdress and outfit to be withdrawn from  this summer’s Toronto Caribbean  carnival

Stonefish said that ” to continue portraying women in this light is offensive  to all indigenous women worldwide.”

Eustace  said he has not been meeting with Stonefish  but  with  people from  several First Nations groups , “specifically the “Chippewas of Rama First Nation’s  Chief and Council and  the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation’s Chief and Council.”

In an email sent to  the  Caribbean Camera  close to press time, Eustace said he has decided that ” no longer will any section in our band be tied or linked to any First Nations people of Canada. ”

“We will NOT be selling/producing the long bonnet & trail headpiece which is symbolic of a Chief’s regalia – that piece has been removed from our sections completely,” he also said.

“Should any First Nations people be included in our  50thAnniversary celebrations of Caribana ,they will be invited to perform in their own traditional authentic regalia.,” he noted.

He  thanked ” all the Chiefs & Councils and elders (especially Paul Shilling) that we have met or heard from for their understanding, wisdom and guidance.  We also thank everyone for their opinions and thoughts on the matter.”

Eustace announced that costumes in the  two new sections – the  Caribs and the Arawaks -will be available for purchase from 2 p.m. on Saturday at Carnival Nationz Mas Camp or via  the band’s website –