Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Halifax’s former poet laureate says she has received unprecedented online backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise that appropriates West Coast Indigenous culture.

Rebecca Thomas, who is Mi’kmaw, tweeted a photo of two garden statues designed in the style of totem poles with NHL logos, asking Lawton’s Drugs why the culturally insensitive items were being sold.

RELATED: B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

Lawton’s responded to say the products would be pulled from stores, but days later Thomas said she is still receiving a stream of negative and racist messages, some saying she is mentally ill and that Indigenous people are too sensitive.

Thomas said the deluge of comments speaks to the knee-jerk reaction often seen when the country’s history of colonialism is pointed out.

She said it shows the lack of understanding many Canadians have about the significance of Indigenous art forms and how Indigenous people are still disrespected.

RELATED: Replica Haida totem pole raised at B.C. park

Totem poles originate from a number of West Coast Indigenous cultures and require a potlatch ceremony to be raised.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP has dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Most Read