Members of Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR), a group of people working toward the elimination of racism, added warning labels to some costumes at Spirit Halloween in Regina, Canada, to raise awareness for indigenous communities. They even issued a notice letter to the store.
They then added two-sided labels to the “Wolf Dancer” and “Reservation Royalty” costumes. While one side of it warned people that the items in the bag were “offensive” and “sexualized women and indigenous people,” the other side of the label gave information about missing and murdered indigenous women.
“[The costume] sexualizes and racializes indigenous women’s bodies which lays [sic] the foundation of a culture that accepts that we can have 4,000 missing and murdered indigenous women,” says Chris Kortright.
Unfortunately, Spirit Halloween has had all the labels removed and issued the following statement to Global News in response.
“Since 1983, at Spirit Halloween, we have offered a wide and balanced range of Halloween costumes that are inspired by, celebrate and appreciate numerous cultures, make believe themes and literary figures. Understanding certain sensitivities, we always strive to present our costumes in a responsible and respectful manner. While we respect the opinion of those who are opposed to the sale of any cultural or historical costumes, we are proud of our costume selection for men, women and children. We continue to offer this broad assortment of costumes in the future, while we maintain our commitment to our diverse customer base.”
Just last week activist Zoey Roy called for a boycott of a Spirit Halloween outlet after she ran into a Native American costume in the Halloween section.
"Typically, we would wear that clothing after a buffalo hunt, we would use the entire animal. We have a relationship with our clothing. For them to wear it as a Halloween costume was appalling to me. I had to say something,” she said.
Roy went on to alert the store manager and request that he remove the costumes, but was instead escorted out.
She was later contacted by store authorities who pulled off the costume from their Saskatoon stores. "It's 2016 — this shouldn't even be a costume,” she said.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jason Lee