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

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

Hilton family’s gift if fully matched will raise $100,000

CVRD testing Shawnigan water after complaints of metallic taste, odour

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past”

Chris Wilkinson column: It’s not too early to reflect

It’s time for the next great migration! A migration back out of the house. To ‘somewhat normal’.

Cowichan residents invited to join Walk for Alzheimer’s online

Taking place on Sunday, May 31, the online event will start at 9 a.m.

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

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

B.C. First Nation adopts Dr. Bonnie Henry, names her ‘one who is calm among us’

Gitxsan officially adopts the provincial health officer in a May 22 ceremony

UPDATE: Woman airlifted with serious injuries, baby OK after crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened on Jingle Pot Road in East Wellington on Saturday afternoon

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Most Read