Indigenous costumes won't be pulled off store shelves, Spirit Halloween says
Store maintains 'Reservation Royalty,' 'Indian Warrior' costumes celebrate Indigenous culture
Despite repeated calls to stop selling costumes such as "Reservation Royalty," "Indian Warrior" and "Indian Princess" at their stores, Spirit Halloween says they won't be taking them off shelves anytime soon.
"Since 1983, at Spirit Halloween, we have offered a wide and balanced range of Halloween costumes that are inspired by, celebrate and appreciate numerous cultures, make believe themes and literary figures," a spokesperson from the company said in a statement to CBC News.
"We have not directed any of our Spirit Halloween stores to remove Indigenous-themed costumes from our shelves, nor do we plan to have these costumes removed."
The chain of stores has come under fire several times before for selling costumes some say are guilty of cultural appropriation.
When the costumes went on sale at the Spirit Halloween store in Winnipeg on Pembina Highway last month, the head of the University of Manitoba native studies department said the costumes are based on offensive 19th century stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples.
On Monday, at a Spirit Halloween store in Regina, activists placed warning labels on the costumes, encouraging shoppers to "please avoid contact with these dangerous materials." The labels were later removed by the store.
"We do not tolerate the act of defacing our products, regardless of the theme or culture represented," a spokesperson from the store said in a statement Tuesday.
Spirit Halloween refused to release sales details that would indicate how popular an item the costumes are at its stores.
With files from Leif Larsen