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People Are Calling Out Canada's Miss Universe Contestant For This Totem Pole Outfit

"Miss Canada, I don't think it was okay to put an image of a totem pole dangling from your crotch."

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Steve Harvey's screw-up in announcing the new Miss Universe was not the only controversy from the competition. Many people also called out Canada's Paola Nunez for her "national outfit."

Instagram: @missuniversecanadaofficial

Nunez's outfit included totem pole imagery hanging from a belt around her waist. She also wore a hawk headdress as part of the "Totem Goddess" theme.

Everybody flipping out on Steve Harvey's epic mistake when tonight's true WTF moment was Miss Canada's pussy totem.

Miss Canada, I don't think it was okay to put an image of a totem pole dangling from your crotch.

So did this #MissCanada Totempole/FN head dress outfit really happen!? #MissUniversePagent

Nothing more culturally sensitive than using a sequined totem pole motif to cover up yer vag. Miss Universe Canada.

Nunez is originally from the Dominican Republic. She moved to Canada when she was 10 years old. Her Miss Universe profile does not cite any Indigenous heritage.

instagram.com

Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull-Burnham also weighed in on Facebook, saying that national outfits are often designed with shock value in mind.

Facebook / Via Facebook: BeyondBuckskin

Although the outfit was creative, she said she didn't "like the totem hanging from her crotch."

Callingbull-Burnham became the first Mrs. Universe of Indigenous heritage when she was crowned earlier in 2015. She has since emerged as a vocal advocate for First Nations rights in Canada.

Callingbull-Burnham said Miss Universe should have "a cultural advisor" on hand to avoid creating outfits that could be offensive.

"I know people are angry but we need to educate with kindness because showing anger makes these people ignore us and they'll keep doing it more and more," she said in a comment on the Beyond Buckskin page.

The Miss Universe Canada organization responded to the uproar on Instagram, saying people simply misunderstood the outfit. Nunez wasn't representing Canada's Indigenous culture, but rather "embracing her ethnic heritage of being a Dominican-born Canadian."

Instagram: @missuniversecanadaofficial

"Yes, there are many different totem poles, NOT just First Nations totem poles," read a statement on Instagram.

That explanation seems at odds with what the designer of the outfit said when he unveiled the design. He did not cite any Dominican inspiration for the outfit, and in fact explicitly noted the prevalence of totem poles in Canada and the United States.

Miss Universe Canada did not reply to a request for comment.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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