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HBC apologizes after creating BIPOC advisory board with no Indigenous members

A women leaves the Hudson Bay Company store in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette A women leaves the Hudson Bay Company store in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
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Hudson's Bay Co. has issued an apology after creating an advisory board to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) fashion designers that had no Indigenous members.

"The announcement of the board 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 members of the advisory board last week. The advisory board had been tasked to steer the selection process and offer mentorship for the recipient of the Fashion Fund, the Bay's grant program for BIPOC designers.

Each year, starting in May 2022, the Fashion Fund would award one BIPOC fashion designer with a $25,000 grant as well as a three-year mentorship program.

However, none of the six members of the advisory board were Indigenous, prompting criticism from some.

"How do you forget Indigenous inclusion at a BIPOC meeting? What did y’all think the 'I' stood for?" one Instagram user commented on Friday.

Others on Instagram said that the omission of Indigenous voices on the board was especially hurtful given the Hudson's Bay Company's historic role in the colonization of Canada.

"When Indigenous voices are erased, it causes harm. Indigenous Peoples were integral to the building of the company and must be part of our future," the company said.

HBC says its plans for the Fashion Fund would not be moving forward "until there are Indigenous voices at the table."

"We did not reflect our own standards of inclusivity, and we apologize," the company said.

This isn't the first time that HBC has had to apologize for mistakes made during its diversity efforts. Back in July, the company issued an apology to a prominent Black lawyer after her photo was used without permission in an ad campaign soliciting donations to empower BIPOC communities. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by The Bay (@hudsonsbay)

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