Manitoba

Head shop name offends some First Nations

A head shop in Winnipeg's West End is offending some people with its aboriginal name, Miigwetch.
The Miigwetch head shop sells drug paraphernalia and some aboriginal people are far from thankful to be associated with those items. (CBC)

A head shop in Winnipeg's West End is offending some people with its aboriginal name, Miigwetch.

In the Anishnaabe language, Miigwetch is the word for thank you.

The shop sells drug paraphernalia, such as glass pipes, and some aboriginal people are far from thankful to be associated with those items.

"Our language is sacred to us. I don't want our language to be a part of any drug culture," said Robert Sinclair, who was with his 11-year-old daughter when she spotted the shop's sign on Notre Dame Avenue.

Some of the drug paraphernalia being sold at Miigwetch can be seen through the store's windowfront. (CBC)

Sinclair is an addictions worker and says many First Nations people need to reconnect with their aboriginal culture in a positive way.

He says this is a step backward that reinforces negative stereotypes "that we're all drug addicts and drunks."

"We've been trying to eliminate that for years and this doesn't help," Sinclair said.

Colin Chornenki, a customer who shops at the store for cigarettes, is a reformed drug user and doesn't agree with the name.

"I find it disgusting, actually, because they are saying 'thank you' for buying this drug paraphernalia that's hurting kids every day," he said.

Sinclair wants the store's owner to change the name.

The owner did not respond to requests from CBC News for an interview.

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