Douglas Stewart, an Indigenous teacher from Moncton, has requested that clothing retailer Urban Planet pull items using the word SAVAGE.
Urban Planet was selling orange t-shirts with the word SAVAGE printed on the front. Keep in mind that Orange Shirt Day is held in honor of Indigenous children who were displaced from their families and sent to Canadian residential schools. Although the word "savage" is often used as a synonym for "fierce," Stewart noted that the term connotes the subjugation of Indigenous peoples during the colonization of North America. Accordingly, the use of the word SAVAGE on orange shirts was particularly poignant.
Although the orange shirt appears to have been removed from Urban Planet’s website, we found other items displaying the word "savage".
It is important to thoroughly consider alternate, and potentially disparaging, meaning of words when marketing goods and services. This is where we can help – our trademark searches can help you determine whether your brand choices will be problematic and/or offensive. For more information on trademark searches and other available services, contact us.