By Daphne Bramham
Instead of knitting identical team sweaters, the knitters will become licensed suppliers to the Olympics and will be able to use the Olympic logo in retailing. That's something that the B.C. company that is supplying the Cowichan-like, official Team Canada sweaters cannot do. That company signed a confidentiality agreement that doesn't allow it to reveal its Olympic connection.
But the Cowichan deal reached late Tuesday with Olympic organizers and the Hudson Bay Co., goes far beyond simply being a licensed supplier. It offers the native knitters global exposure and an unprecedented economic opportunity.
The iconic sweaters will be sold at the Hudson Bay Co.'s Olympic superstore in Vancouver as well as at the Four Host First Nations pavilion during the Games.
The agreement extends beyond the Olympic period and contains a knowledge-transfer component, giving the Cowichan access to the Bay's expertise on pricing, marketing and creating a consistent production flow of sweaters into the market.
For more on the subject, see Non-Cowichan Sweaters Are Fake and Cowichan Tribes Won't Make Cowichan Sweaters.
Below: "Dianne Hinkley shows off a genuine Cowichan Tribes sweater." (CBC)