Children’s educational program gets failing grade on Haida culture

  • Aug. 28, 2015 1:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverA children’s television program showcasing Haida Gwaii in a recent episode has shocked some parents over its grossly inaccurate depiction of the Haida culture. Leah Walker, a self-described “proud Haida from Skidegate” was watching the children’s show Justin Time with her three year old when the Haida Gwaii episode appeared. The main character Justin travelled to Haida Gwaii in a birch bark canoe and was greeted by a member of the fictitious Sunshine Tribe and a Wolf Chief. “I was horrified,” Ms Walker explained. “The most annoying part was when they first got to Haida Gwaii and they were talking about this Sunshine Tribe.” There is no Sunshine Tribe in Haida traditions. There is the Raven and Eagle clans that have their own sub crests, but no Sunshine Tribe. The show featured many confusing facts about the Haida, including something called a totem pole party. “I wouldn’t be offended if they had their facts straight; it is supposed to be an educational show for kids,” Ms. Walker said.It appeared that the only semi-traditional element of the episode was a Haida Hat that given to the main character Justin. Justin Time is a Canadian animated television series for preschoolers and airs on the Disney Junior channel. The storyline revolves around the adventures of Justin and his friends, whose everyday preschool challenge set the stage for adventures, such as riding rockets into space; discovering new lands with Vikings; and chasing Cleopatra’s cat through the pyramids of Egypt. The Observer reached out the Guru Studio who produces the children’s show but did not get a response by press time.

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