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

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read