Holtby apologizes, won’t wear mask depicting Thunderbird after criticism

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Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby will not be wearing the new Indigenous-themed mask he had planned to make his debut for his new team this season after being accused of cultural appropriation.
“I just wanted to make sure I apologize to anyone I offended,” Holtby told CTV News’ Emad Agahi on Saturday. “It was definitely not my intention and I definitely learned a valuable lesson through it all and I’m going to make sure I’m better and going forward, doing the things that help the community the most.” . ”

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Swedish goalie mask artist Dave Gunnarsson shared his design for Holtby’s headgear, which he wrote portrayed “The Thunderbird Myth, A Canadian West Coast Myth” . Gunnarsson also described the image, as noted below, as “the Native North West Coast myth”.

(Courtesy: Reddit Hockey)

Gunnarsson withdrew the post a day later after social media users claimed he appropriated Indigenous culture. Several First Nations personalities agree.

“When we see the mask, although it is shining, one of the first questions you ask yourself is, ‘Who did it? Said Robert Philips, political executive member of the First Nations Summit and Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (Shuswap) of Canim Lake First Nation.

“Immediately, thoughts of cultural appropriation arise,” Philips told Agahi.

Jay Soule, an Aboriginal artist from Toronto, had a suggestion for Holtby.

“If the goalie in question wants to use Indigenous art on his helmet, the right thing to do would simply be to contact an Indigenous artist and ask them to do so,” Soule said.

Soule added that when this kind of work comes from non-Indigenous artists, it has a “catastrophic” effect on the economy of his community. The artist also said he too believed it was cultural appropriation, but praised Gunnarsson for taking “a step in the right direction” by removing the post.

Holtby told Agahi he plans to collaborate with a First Nations artist on a new mask he will wear for the 2020-2021 season.

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