H&M pulls 'offensive' headdress in Canada after complaints

Photo taken on September 30, 2008 of the logo of Swedish high-street clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) in Aalborg.

Swedish retail giant H&M has removed "faux feather headdresses" from five shops in Canada after complaints they are offensive to aboriginal Canadians.

Spokeswoman Emily Scarlett said the headbands were part of the company's summer music festival collection called "H&M Loves Music," which is inspired by the Sixties.

Kim Wheeler spotted the $15 fashion accessory last week while shopping in Vancouver's Pacific Centre mall. The Ojibwa-Mohawk from Winnipeg says it insults her culture.

"My first instinct was to buy all of them and throw them in the garbage," Wheeler told the CBC. "It's not honoring us. It's not flattering us. ... We just don't think it's cool."

The 44-year-old immediately sent an email to the company.

"Headdresses are worn by chiefs in some of our communities," Wheeler wrote. "It is a symbol of respect and honor and should not be for sale as some sort of cute accessory. People in my community have kind of been fighting that whole 'hipster headdressing' for awhile now."

It remains unclear whether H&M will remove the items from its shops in other countries, but it has sent the request to all 61 of locations in Canada.

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