HBC Apologizes for BIPOC Indigenous-Free Advisory Board
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TORONTO – The Hudson’s Bay Company has apologized after creating an advisory board to support BIPOC fashion designers (black, native and colored) who did not have native members.
“The board’s announcement did not include indigenous representation. This erasure should not have happened. We are taking action,” the company wrote in an Instagram post on Friday.
HBC announced the advisory board members last week. The advisory committee was tasked with leading the selection process and providing mentorship to the recipient of Fashion Fund, BIPOC’s Designer Bay Grant program.
Each year, starting in May 2022, the Fashion Fund would award a BIPOC fashion designer a grant of $ 25,000 as well as a three-year mentorship program.
However, none of the six members of the advisory board were indigenous, which drew criticism from some.
“How can we forget the inclusion of Aboriginals at a BIPOC meeting? What did you think the “I” meant? An Instagram user commented on Friday.
Others on Instagram said the omission of Indigenous voices from the board was particularly hurtful given the Hudson’s Bay Company’s historic role in colonizing Canada.
“When indigenous voices are erased, it causes harm. Indigenous peoples were an integral part of building the business and must be part of our future,” the company said.
HBC says its plans for the Fashion Fund would not go forward “until there are indigenous voices around the table.”
“We have not reflected our own standards of inclusiveness and we apologize,” the company said.
This isn’t the first time HBC has had to apologize for mistakes made in its diversity efforts. In July, the company apologized to a prominent black lawyer after his photo was used without permission in an advertising campaign soliciting donations to empower BIPOC communities.
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