I saw an incredible piece of finery at the toronto airport a few weeks ago. A vast fur blanket with the Hudsons Bay Company stripes in thick solid wool on the underside. It was so beautiful! So well made and magnificent. I felt deep within my own DNA a whiff of the life my bodies before me knew. Of course I checked the price tag to see if maybe it was around twenty bucks, and would it fit carry on? Oh behold! The worn and weakened price tag said $2695.00
I just looked it up online here and then it got me thinking.
Thinking about those colours, and the story of what happened like, not too long ago. Smallpox.
Have you heard that story? It’s frickin horrible. The white man gave Hbc woolen point blankets intentionally infected with small pox to try to wipe out that population of indigenous families. Families who just happened to be happily living there for ten thousand years. HOLY SHIT, right?
What does HBC have to say to the smallpox story? Here’s a reply from them. They say
“There is evidence from a letter of General Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander of the British forces in North America in 1763. The surviving letters between Amherst and a subordinate discuss trying this method of germ warfare against the aboriginals. However, there is no hard evidence that blah blah blah blah blah”
Basically that “No. Wasn’t us! Hbc didn’t do that. But there’s evidence of white generals planning that shit.” and if indigenous people say it happened, that’s enough for me to pretty much COMPLETELY believe what happened there. Germ warfare. DEVISTATION
There’s no controversy there. It happened. But apparently there’s just enough “controversy” to keep The Bay shelves stocked with the iconic Hbc point blanket colours. It seems to me that those colours represent an aspect of unnecessary cruel war tactics, no? The Bay has been selling those colours ever since! Should we really be carrying on traditions that ARE INSANELY CRUEL? Fox was given a gift of a really nice cotton knit sweater flying the unmistakable scheme. It’s a good warm sweater, but every time I look at it I feel shame of my ancestors.
I see these stripes every day. I warm my son with them. My intention for writing this was that maybe since I’m using it, it can start a conversation. The more awareness to that subject I can bring, the better for the general consensus to realize NEVER AGAIN does such cruelty ever have to be endured by anyone. I want it to symbolize instead the honoured memory of the suffering people.
I think we’re looking at an end to all war.
Capitalism is losing.
Logic, reason, and fairness is winning.
I’m going to go read about the history of this now and try to learn more so that I can bring some actual fact to any conversations that come outta this.