November 28, 2007

Whale and bear and sasquatch

2010 Vancouver Olympics' mascots inspired by First Nations creaturesMiga is a mythical First Nations sea bear that is part killer whale and part Kermode spirit bear.

Miga was based on the legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations of orca whales that transform into bears when they arrive on land, but is also a snowboarder.

Quatchi is a sasquatch, but a shy and gentle giant, that loves all winter sports, and is especially fond of hockey and dreams of becoming a world-famous goalie.

Miga is a sea bear inspired by legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations. He's also a snowboarder.

The third mascot, Sumi, is an animal-guardian spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty Thunderbird and runs on the furry legs of the black bear.


alanajoli said...

What has the reaction been to these three? Are they honoring the legends of the region, or seen as exploitation? It seems like there could be a good potential for education here, particularly for the children at whom mascots like these are aimed.

Rob said...

The source article has the answer to your question:

There was no shortage of opinion on the characters after they were revealed, with hundreds of comments submitted to Some were positive:

"These mascots are exposing kids to the fact that Canada is a diverse place, one with different cultures and strengths. They are teaching kids, perhaps indirectly, to be open minded and forgiving of others," wrote Celeste from Kelowna.

"They're adorable, admittedly. The purpose of a mascot is to be marketable and make money (usually through blatant pandering to children) and they've achieved a victory in that category," wrote Noemi Pomerleau of Vancouver.

But the overwhelming majority of comments submitted were negative, criticizing the Pokemon look of the characters and highlighting confusion over what sort of creature they represented.

Fred Allnutt from Gibsons wrote: "If the kids enjoy them I guess they're all right. But … nobody will know what they are unless it is explained to them."

"Vancouver and British Columbia should be ashamed that Pokemon was elected to represent Canada," David wrote from Toronto.

"I'm disappointed," Patricia from Kelowna wrote. "Would have loved a cute, cuddly 'spirit' bear. Perhaps something we could all relate to."

Rob said...

I agree it's hard to tell what the mascots are. I'd support them if Natives had created or approved them. But that doesn't seem to be the case.