First Nation woman calls Air Transat's kids activity package racist

Maria Morrison says her 12-year-old daughter gasped when she opened an activity package given to her on a recent Air Transat flight to Winnipeg. Inside the package was a cartoon image of a red creature wearing a feathered headdress.

Children's activity package on flight features red-skinned creature in feather headdress

A First Nations woman says a vacation airline should stop handing out a children's activity package that features a red-skinned cartoon character wearing a feathered headdress. 1:58
A First Nations woman says a vacation airline should stop handing out a children's activity package that features a red-skinned cartoon character wearing a feathered headdress.
Maria Morrison was shocked to find these images in an activity package given to her daughter on a recent Air Transat flight. (Maria Morrison)

Maria Morrison says she and her 12-year-old daughter were returning to Winnipeg on a Feb. 24 Air Transat flight, following a vacation in the Dominican Republic.

As they were boarding the plane, an attendant gave her daughter an activity package.

"We opened up the package and this hideous character was there, in a few different places," Morrison said.

"My daughter gasped when she saw it."

The books and stickers in the package also contained images of canoes, teepees, and tomahawks, Morrison said.

Morrison kept the activity package and tweeted images of it when she returned home, with the message, "Huge FAIL @airtransat Please pull your racist kids material from all flights! #NotaMascot"

The company tweeted this response, "Sorry to read it offended you. I will forward your comments to the appropriate teams. Thanks.​"

Morrison said she hasn't heard anything else from Air Transat and is mulling how to move forward.

In an email sent Friday afternoon, an Air Transat spokesperson told Morrison that no one else has complained about the game in question.

"As an international travel company, we cherish diversity, promote culture and heritage, and strive to do this while avoiding clichés and stereotypes. The image discussed here is just one out of many taken from a game designed to entertain small children, and the same touch of humour is applied to a series of characters, including an RCMP officer," the email states in part.

"This game has been available on our aircraft for years and has never elicited comments before. It was certainly not meant to be disrespectful to the many communities represented."

The spokesperson said the airline is sorry if Morrison was offended by the material and added, "We would have been pleased to discuss this issue with you before it was addressed to the media."

Morrison said she and her daughter are offended by the cartoon and they want the airline to remove it immediately.

"I felt compelled to do something about it because of the blatant cultural appropriation, the inappropriateness of it and the disrespect that was being shown by this," Morrison said.

With files from the CBC's Jill Coubrough


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