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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