October 22, 2015

"Indian" costume tagged with alcohol slur

Winnipeg kids store mistakenly sells aboriginal-themed costume with 'rubbies' tag

Store owner says tag was on all costumes and was unfortunate mistake, will stop selling similar costumes

By Teghan Beaudette
A children's clothing store in Winnipeg is under fire after mistakenly selling a faux-aboriginal themed costume and tagging it "rubbies."

Once Upon a Child on Ellice Avenue was selling a tan kids costume with feathers, fringe and beaded necklaces with a price tag that said "rubbies" until someone shared the tag and costume on Facebook.

"I just thought, 'Oh my god. I can't believe I'm seeing this.' And it's actually a store called 'Once Upon a Child' that's selling this?" said Rachel Lyon, a First Nations grandma who spotted the costume on Facebook. "For a child to wear that? You know, what are you going to tell your friends? 'Oh, you've got a Native costume?' and then they're going joke around, 'No, it's a rubbies costume.' I wouldn't let my child wear a costume like that."

But store owner Dave Dunlop said it was an innocent mistake.
And:The store is a franchise and sells "Rubies" brand costumes.

"One costume brand name that we have here, it's called Rubies, it's R-U-B-I-E-S. Someone in Minneapolis, who knows how many decades ago, spelled it with two B's instead of one," he said, adding whoever entered it into the system likely mistyped.

At the time, about 20 children's costumes were all out with the same tag.

"When I got to work this morning I talked to one of my friends who is Native and we talked about it. He explained it to me. What a rubbie was and I was like, 'Oh are you kidding me.' So it was just a coincidence–an unfortunate one," he said.

Rubby or rubbie is an offensive term for a person who uses rubbing alcohol as a cheap liquor substitute.

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