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Walmart Canada Pulls Baby Onesie Seen As Tone-Deaf To Indigenous History

The company said the graphic has "no place in our stores."

07/14/2017 13:06 EDT | Updated 07/15/2017 23:06 EDT

Walmart Canada is pulling a baby onesie that customers flagged as insensitive to survivors of residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.

Images of the onesie, manufactured under the retail giant's George brand, were taken in a store in Niagara Falls, Ont. and made the rounds on social media Friday.

On it were the words, "I still live with my parents," with Indigenous motifs including an arrow and two teepees.

Walmart Canada spokeswoman Anika Malik told HuffPost Canada that the onesie will be immediately pulled from store shelves.

"The graphic on this item does not represent Walmart's beliefs and has no place in our stores," Malik said in an email.

"We are removing the product immediately and sincerely apologize for any unintended offence this has caused."

Mom calls Walmart flub a 'great way to open up that conversation'

Elizabeth Sault from the Niagara Regional Native Centre took the photo on Monday and told HuffPost Canada she's pleased with Walmart's proactive response.

"It's not just an offence, it's also a great way to open up that conversation," she said, noting that a disproportionate number of Indigenous children are in foster care.

"We have the highest rate of children in care in Canada."

At first she was just like, 'Oh mom, it's just a cute saying.'Elizatbeth Sault

Sault, who is half Indigenous, was talking with her 13-year-old daughter about the graphic when it struck her that his was an opportunity for a teachable moment.

Her daughter didn't immediately interpret the graphic as offensive.

"At first she was just like, 'Oh mom, it's just a cute saying.'" she said. "She's very unaware, because there's no reason for her to be aware. But at 13, I think, you know it's time for her to know what's happening."

Ben Nelms / Reuters
Members of various First Nations walk to honour residential school survivors in Vancouver on June 11, 2015.

Approximately 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their homes and put into the residential school system, according to Historica Canada. It's estimated 6,000 children died while in the residential school system.

Canada's last residential school closed in 1996, but concurrent to the system's operation, another one actively broke families apart in Ontario.

From the late 1950s to early 1980s, more than 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families during the Sixties Scoop and placed into non-Indigenous foster homes.

Earlier this year, Ontario Superior Court sided with victims of the Sixties Scoop and found the Government of Canada breached its responsibility to protect the identities of Indigenous children.

Sault, whose first reaction to seeing the baby onesie hanging in the store was "Oh my gosh, really?" said she's pleased calling out Walmart Canada for its culturally insensitive product has become an opportunity to increase awareness.

"That's what I'm about," she said.

Related on HuffPost:

Residential Schools: A Photo History