The First Nation says it bid to knit its traditional sweaters for the Games, but instead the company went with a knock-off.
The art of knitting what locals call "the Cowichan sweater" has been handed down from generation to generation, Cowichan elder Jenny Martin told CBC News Wednesday.
"My mom taught me how to knit when I was 15 … and my mom had-made sweaters and ponchos," Martin said.
Martin said the Bay's version of the sweater has an elk and a maple leaf but lacks authenticity.
"It's not Cowichan-made," she said.
The local MLA said the situation makes him angry.
"VANOC has threatened legal action against businesses that use the Olympic logo or even use the word 'Olympic,'" said the B.C. NDP's Bill Routley. "But they made no effort to accommodate the creators of the Cowichan design."
Quantity an issue
A provincial government spokeswoman defended the design.
"It was a matter of finding a quantity of knitwear in a time frame, and apparently it was a fair and open process," said B.C. Minister of State for the Olympics, Mary McNeil.
"Hudson's Bay Company worked with a Canadian, world-class supplier of traditional and contemporary hand-knit sweaters who offers both the technical knitting expertise and effective business operations to help produce a quality product in the quantity that we anticipate needing," the company said in a news release.
I would be a lot more ambivalent if the intellectual property lawyers and branding goons weren't so severe about the stupid Vancouver 2010 and it's marketing. This whole thing is like mowing down a bunch of people at a McDonald's, then trying to get good press and suing people who rip off your bullet-crazed likeness. Then the maniac steals the Jones Cola logo because he needs a positive PR bump. Oh, and Gordon Campbell is funding your sociopathy.