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Cowichan Tribes considering suing the Hudson’s Bay Company

Furor over “knock-off” sweater mounts


 

Incensed that the Hudson’s Bay Company is using a “knock-off” Cowichan sweater in its new line of Olympic clothing, the Cowichan Tribes are considering legal action, reports the Victoria Times Colonist. Last week it was revealed that The Bay chose not to use Cowichan knitters to produce 700 to 750 of the traditional sweaters, opting instead for a more expensive version produced by knitters in Eastern Canada. Band manager Ernie Elliott says his people want an apology for the missed opportunity to showcase the sweaters and takes issue with The Bay’s claim that the Cowichan Tribes didn’t have the resources to complete the order. “We knew it was going to be difficult but we sure wanted to give it a whirl,” he said, adding that they would have enlisted relatives up and down Vancouver Island. “Some of these ladies knit 24 hours a day when they’ve got orders,” he said. Chief Lydia Hwitsum calls The Bay’s version “a knock-off” that “disrespects the fact our sweater is a unique piece of art recognized around the world and is a registered exclusive trademark of the Cowichan people.”

Times Colonist


 
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Cowichan Tribes considering suing the Hudson’s Bay Company

  1. Time Colonialist? Do you know longer hire fact checkers to ensure you have the correct spelling of the BC's capital city's only daily newspaper? Oh, and regarding the knitters…that is truly shameful that they wouldn't use members of the Cowichan Tribe.

  2. You know if the brain trust at the US based HBC had any smarts they could have asked the band to make a limited edition of cowichan sweaters for the athletes and a small number of originals to auction off to benefit first nation athletes.

    This was so mishandled by VANOC. So much for first nation involvement and benefits to Canadians in the Olympics.

  3. Disgusting behaviour by HBC. If the design is a registered trademark, the band should indeed sue for infringement .

  4. I also had the idea of making sweaters out of wool. I will also be launching a lawsuit against HBC.

    Bonnie, that actually is a really good idea. Maybe they can still knit authentic sweaters for the Native athletes that will be representing Canada.

  5. I live in the Cowichan Valley and would have donated my non-native fingers to the task. Islanders would have come through and fulfilled any orders handily. ;-)

  6. If the Bay was concerned that the Cowichan knitters would be unable to produce enough sweaters, then why didn't they try to make a deal to pay the Cowichan for the use of their pattern? The whole 2010 extravaganza is so utterly not about the athletes, nor about the host country. It's all about corporate greed in the guise of amateur athletics.

  7. I BELIEVE THE BAND SHOULD SLAP VANOC AND THE BC &
    CANADIAN GOVERNMENTS WITH CLASS ACTION LAW SUITS.
    TECK SHOULD BE INCLUDED IF THEY DID'NT GET PERMISSION
    FOR THE USE OF FIRST NATIONS ART. OLYMPIC SECURITY,
    VANOC & THE B.C. GOVERNMENT ARE TROMPING ALL OVER
    OUR CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    ALREADY.

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