Toronto Maple Leafs Merch Is Getting Pulled From Shelves After Cultural Appropriation Backlash - Narcity

Toronto Maple Leafs Merch Is Getting Pulled From Shelves After Cultural Appropriation Backlash

The totem pole is being called wildly insensitive.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing an incredible season of hockey so far, it seems the team has found itself in a new kind of controversy. This time, it doesn't have anything to do with players, coaches or general managers, but instead concerns a piece of team merchandise that has caused an uproar on Twitter.

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It all started when a Twitter user named Rebecca Thomas took to the social media platform to ask Nova Scotian drug store, Lawtons Drugs why they were carrying pieces of Leafs merchandise that she felt were "awful appropriative pieces of trash that undermine west coast Indigenous culture." 

Other Canadians were quick to back up Thomas' outrage over the merchandise that included a recreation of a totem pole that had symbols related to the Leafs on it such as Carlton the bear, a hockey puck and the team's logo:

The pharmacy store was quick to apologize about the issue on Twitter as well as commit to taking the controversial pieces off the shelves:

While you would think that would be the end of it, not everybody was as receptive to Thomas' concern and felt that it was unfair and overreactive:

It also turns out that the totem poles are created by a company named Evergreen Enterprises, as pointed out by CBC. They also make totem poles for other teams such as the Montréal Canadians, Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. 

Via NHL

What a search for sport's team totem poles also shows is that Evergreen Enterprises isn't the only company creating them, and they also exist for other sports such as football and baseball. Meaning the issue goes well beyond the just the Leafs or hockey. 

It's clear that Canadians are extremely divided on whether the totem pole is a sign of appreciating Native culture or appropriating it. Though considering Lawton Drugs has already committed to taking the totem pole off the shelves, while the decision is still up for debate, grabbing a totem pole for yourself is not.

Source: CBC 

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