Braden Holtby’s Goalie Mask Artist Takes Down New Design From Social Media

Graphic: @DaveArt

On Friday, famed goalie mask artist Dave Gunnarss0n of DaveArt released his latest design for Vancouver Canucks netminder Braden Holtby. By Saturday afternoon the design was pulled from the artists social media pages

It is believed that the new mask design was pulled due to pressures and concerns voiced from some inside (and outside) the First Nations community who felt the design was done without consultation or participation from the indigenous people of British Columbia, and thus, the new mask art could be deemed cultural appropriation.

On Friday, Gunnarsson debuted the new design on his @DaveArt Instagram page. (The post has since been removed. A separate video post covering the new design was also been removed.)

Holtby’s new mask design featured the Thunderbird, a supernatural figure associated with Northwest Coast Indigenous myths.

The Thunderbird is said to be the creator of thunder by flapping its sizable wings (which also shoot arrows to hunt prey) and igniting flashes of lightning by blinking its eyes.

Each side of the mask included massive wings painted in Canucks blue and green. The top of the mask features the head and beak consistent with Indigenous renderings of the creature.

In Native American culture, the Thunderbird is a symbol of power, strength and nobility, and is known for protecting humans from evil spirits.

[UPDATE – 10:00 PM]

Braden Holtby will not wear the new Indigenous-themed mask he had planned to debut with his new team this season after being accused of cultural appropriation.

“I just wanted to make sure I apologize to anyone I had offended,” Holtby told CTV News’ Emad Agahi on Saturday. “It was definitely not my intent and I definitely learned a valuable lesson through this all and I’ll make sure I’m better and moving forward, do the things that help the community the most.”

“When we see the mask, although looking brilliant, one of the first questions you ask is, ‘Who made it?'” said Robert Philips, a member of the First Nations Summit Political Executive and the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (Shuswap) of the Canim Lake First Nation.

“Immediately thoughts of cultural appropriation come up,” Philip told Agahi.

Jay Soule, an Indigenous artist based in Toronto, had a suggestion for Holtby.

Holtby told Agahi he plans to collaborate with a First Nations artist for a new mask he’ll wear for the 2020-21 season.

By Jon Sorensen

Related Articles:
A Look at Pheonix Copley’s New Bucket
Vitek Vanecek Gets a New Mask from David Gunnarsson
A Look at The Bears Goalie Masks for the 2018 Outdoor Classic
A Closer Look at Braden Holtby’s ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ Mask
Philipp Grubauer’s Latest Bucket is a Beauty
Meet the Man Behind the Capitals’ Goalie Masks: Catching Up With David Gunnarsson

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to Braden Holtby’s Goalie Mask Artist Takes Down New Design From Social Media

  1. Anonymous says:

    Damn near everything could be considered “cultural appropriation”, if you have brain damage

    • Anonymous says:

      It won’t stop. Respect to their heritage, which is all Holts was trying to do. Indigenous people look bad by screaming appropriation

  2. Anonymous says:

    So has Ford Motor Company started a recall to rename the Thunderbird?

    • Anonymous says:

      No doubt, so where does it end? This could have been a pretty good educational story, but now it’s divided people, and reflects poorly on indigenous people. Goes to show, even when you try and do something positive….

  3. Scottlew73 says:

    The funniest thing about the whole cultural appropriation aspect,one of most respected artists in native art in Canada ,was “white man” Bill Reid! Holtby’s biggest issue was he didn’t kiss somebody’s butt to get “thier” approval!! + British Columbia has most of the “better off reserves” in western Canada thanks to treaty fishing rights.

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