October 22, 2009

Mounties investigate Cowichan protesters

Native knitters investigated, B.C. MLA saysOn a day when Vancouver's police chief insisted his officers would not act with a heavy hand against Olympic protesters, B.C.'s solicitor general was having to field questions about how heavily Olympic security personnel have dealt with a group of First Nations knitters.

A group of women knitters in the Cowichan First Nation on southern Vancouver Island had announced they planned a protest next week against VANOC for allegedly appropriating their classic native sweater designs.

The knitters had planned to wear their sweaters in protest and line a route to be taken by Olympic torchbearers next week. The plan reportedly caught the attention of authorities and was investigated by the RCMP.

"We have learned that the RCMP have been investigating people organizing this show of sweaters," B.C. NDP MLA Bill Routley told the legislature Thursday, and demanded to know if the solicitor general knew about it.

"Are you really believing that you're going to protect the Olympic runners by investigating knitters?" Routley asked.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Hudson Bay Company Invented Cowichan Sweaters?! and Cowichan Tribes Won't Make Cowichan Sweaters.

Below:  "Cowichan native knitters were upset when they saw the sweater design worn by the woman in this photo." (CBC)

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