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This Walmart Onesie Using Indigenous Imagery Pissed Off A Lot Of People

"This is what happens when you mindlessly appropriate."

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Walmart Canada has pulled a baby onesie from stores after complaints from Indigenous customers.

Twitter: @gindaanis

The onesie reads "I still live with my parents" along with images of teepees and an arrow. It does not appear on Walmart Canada's website, but was spotted in a store in Niagara Falls and posted on social media.

The "I still live with my parents" message isn't uncommon for children's clothing — apparently a joke about adult children who still live with their parents.

@gindaanis @xodanix3 @Walmart @JorgeBarrera @APTNNews @lakotalaw It's a kind of common onesie joke (where the joke… https://t.co/GuUVWDNx7G

While not terribly funny to begin with, it takes on a whole new context when juxtaposed with First Nations imagery, considering the disproportionate number of Indigenous children in state care.

This is what happens when you mindlessly appropriate. You do something ugly w complete dsregard for the context you… https://t.co/ITz8OBQQKr

According to Statistics Canada, 48% of all children in foster care in 2011 were Indigenous. Yet Indigenous children only accounted for 7% of all children in Canada.

Between the current data, the residential school system, and the Sixties Scoop, Canada has a long history of removing Indigenous children from their homes and parents.

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Add that together and you've got one offensive onesie.

@gindaanis @Walmart Oh my god whoever made this is obviously completely out of check with reality. Excuse me while… https://t.co/E8D9nfcAP7

Patty Krawec tweeted the image after a friend of hers shared it on Facebook. She went to the store Friday morning and saw one was still on the shelf, so she spoke with a manager.

"I had the onesie and I told her that it wasn’t okay, how overrepresented Indigenous children are in child welfare," Krawec told BuzzFeed Canada.

Although the manager responded swiftly and had associates pull any remaining onesies, the problem is that it was made at all. Krawec said "it's not a secret" that Indigenous children are more likely to be in state care, and there's also an issue of appropriation.

"Appropriation is taking something out of its cultural context ... and you don’t realize the impact that’s going to have because these images have been appropriated and stripped of its meaning to everyone outside the community," said Krawec.

"When an Indigenous person looks at it, it’s very clear."

Krawec isn't the only one wondering how no one at Walmart realized how the onesie could be interpreted.

.@walmart may consequences be as swift as actions.Train entire workforce on cultural safety.This passed by many eye… https://t.co/CRWzolcYIM

A Facebook post of the onesie has been shared more than 500 times.

facebook.com

"So I'm not even sure how to express the absolute disgust and anger I feel towards this baby sleeper that was seen at Walmart yesterday," the poster wrote.

"Considering the fact that indigenous children are being apprehended at an alarming rate by [Children's Aid Society] agencies nationwide as part of the continued attempt to extinguish indigenous people and access land for resource extraction, I can't seem to understand how the fuck a corporation could make light of such a horrendous crisis?!!!"

Walmart told BuzzFeed Canada the onesie is now being pulled from shelves, but did not confirm how many stores were selling it.

"The graphic on this item does not represent Walmart’s beliefs and has no place in our stores," Walmart said in an email.

"We are removing the product immediately and sincerely apologize for any unintended offence this has caused."

Lauren Strapagiel is Managing Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Lauren Strapagiel at lauren.strapagiel@buzzfeed.com.

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