Not only is your marketing racist but it is lazy,” Michelin said Sept. 13 in a tweet. That electric neon yellow color. It feels like it’s just a matter of time until another company gets in trouble for copying and pasting Indigenous culture into their marketing materials. Its liquid is bright yellow, not clear like most gin, and adorning the bottle in a decorative fashion are Inuktitut syllabics. The label indicates that the spirit is flavoured with northern botanicals such as cloudberries, Labrador tea, and juniper. Alaskan Air unveiled its new look earlier this year, which a redesign of its well-known tail art, the image of a hooded Inupiaq who’s long been referred to as the Eskimo, with the slogan “Meet Our Eskimo.”, This airline later backtracked on its new slogan, issuing an apology to its clients and removing the “our” so it read “Meet The Eskimo.”, And in December 2015, Natan Obed, the president of ITK, asked the Edmonton Eskimos football team to stop using the term Eskimo, a Cree word that means “eaters of raw meat.”, “This issue is about our right to self-determine who we are on our own terms,” Obed said. The Ungava Gin incident is just a drop in the bucket and it’s been pouring for years. Or is this just more lip service that lack action? Dene community casting wider net on fishing venture. And if this was the most offensive form of racism Inuit had to deal with, life would be pretty sweet right now. Surprisingly, no this isn’t a bottle of Suze. Ungava is a unique contemporary gin. Special to APTN National News. Our statement on using Inuit culture an imagery in promotional campaigns… https://t.co/8NI50dYcCG, — Ungava (@Ungava_Gin) September 14, 2016. The makers of the controversial Ungava Gin say they’re looking for guidance on how to better represent the Ungava region in their future marketing and how to direct benefits to Inuit communities. Special to APTN National News Stories about First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The COVID-19 pandemic in Canada is serious. Copyright © 1995-2019 Nortext Publishing Corporation (Iqaluit) and may not be reprinted for commercial publication in print, or any other media, without the permission of the publisher. A friend pointed me to one of their videos (which has now been removed from their social media and youtube) which featured male vocalists throat singing the word Ungava repeatedly, and purple cartoon Inuit paddling First Nation style canoes loaded with northern ingredients for gin making. For a company that claims on their website to operate “with total respect for the environment and Inuit traditions,” this, like the skimpy parkas in their marketing campaigns, doesn’t seem to fit. But in March the same image was up on Ungava’s Twitter feed again. And Ungava isn’t even the first to use Inuit stylized figures in promotional materials—just take a look at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Inuit men and women displayed on its logo. The company is responding to a backlash against promotional material that was recently called out as cultural appropriation. This image of an Inuk promoting Ungava gin shows a “non-Inuit owned Toronto-based company mocking us and profiting off of us,” said Nunavut performer Tanya Tagaq in a tweet. The rare botanicals are hand-foraged, dried, and then slowly steeped for five weeks for a natural extraction of complex flavour and colour. It mixes nicely in cocktails and the color actually adds a stu… This is how Ungava likes to promote its gin, with faux-furred “Inuit” ladies. • a photo montage asking if Nunavik’s Pingualuit crater is a lake, a species of penguin or a native community (Inuit): and. “The decision to call our gin Ungava was always intended to pay tribute to the land from which the gin is produced, and to celebrate the unmistakable beauty of the Ungava region,” he said. An Iqaluit man said Ungava-brand gin is one of the best gins around, but this week he slammed its marketing campaign for misusing Inuit—to sell gin. The color is from the infusion of the six arctic plants that make up Ungava’s unique botanical bill. On the shelf Ungava Gin stands out. The Quebec-made Ungava gin, recently sold by Domaine Pinnacle to Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. for $12 million, has received many quality awards over the years for its unique flavour, which comes from Nunavik-picked Labrador tea, crowberry, wild rose hips, Nordic juniper and cloudberries. These are all medicines that would be familiar to most Indigenous Northerners. It definitely wasn’t Inuit made I could tell, but it was Inuit-inspired. • bad syllabics—while Ungava is translated correctly on the bottle, the syllabics embossed around the bottle are merely decorative. The Quebec-made Ungava gin, recently sold by Domaine Pinnacle to Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. for $12 million, has received many quality awards over the years for its unique flavour, which comes from Nunavik-picked Labrador tea, crowberry, wild rose … The more I saw, the more disgusted I became. Ungava is a distilled gin, made with botanicals that are native to Nunavik, Quebec's Inuit territory, and to other parts of the Arctic. In May of this year, Canada officially adopted the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Ossie Michelin is an Inuk freelance journalist who splits his time between Montreal and Labrador. Article 31 of the UNDRIP states “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora.”. It’s not fun being portrayed again and again as some sort of mythical creature from legend, from a different time. Near this igloo shown on an Ungava gin marketing image, there’s a huge bottle of gin. My problem is the larger culture that allows this to happen again and again and again. These conversations will be had with or without the companies using our images and our names and will continue until they come around and start either work with actual Indigenous people in a meaningful way, or just leave us and our iconography alone. And once we are no longer real, we no longer have a say in how we are portrayed, or what outsiders can do with our culture. François Legault of Quebec’s CAQ provincial political party, lamented seeing a recognizable Quebec brand leave the province. The obscure flavors and ingredients will leave you wondering, “just what is that flavor?” and reaching for more traditional supports “is that coriander?” But its mixability and unique color will probably have you reaching for it again. In the statement of the apology, Crawford said the company will engage “key cultural influencers to gather explicit feedback on our use of Inuit symbology” and that “we are committed to being more culturally aware and sensitive in our advertising efforts going forward.”. It was visually appealing, it tasted nice (although I didn’t taste any of the botanicals mentioned on the label), and it was something, as an Inuk, I could get behind. I’m waiting to see how they will follow through on this, but I just wish we didn’t have to do all this in the first place and that the corporate sector will realize it’s not ok to rip off Indigenous cultures. For Inuit, we saw yet another company use our imagery as part of their marketing strategy, while at the same time, demonstrating they knew very little about us, and which province this company is from make very little difference. Company apologizes: “We are deeply sorry and we will do better”. 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