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Friday, June 9, 2023

Toronto Mom Outraged Over Inuk Toy Inside Kinder Egg Surprise

A Kinder Surprise egg purchased by Teresa Miller for her daughter during a grocery shopping trip in early February contained a toy that resembles an Inuk inside an igloo. This discovery has left the Toronto mother outraged.

Miller finds the toy disrespectful and unnecessary, stating that it is not appropriate for a child’s toy or to be manufactured at all. The figurine wears an orange parka and is seated inside the igloo, appearing to be waiting to be launched towards what resembles a curling target. Although Miller is not Indigenous, she has used this incident as a teaching moment.

“We immediately had a conversation about how it’s not appropriate. We don’t use people’s cultures as toys,” she says. “I think it’s important that more than Indigenous people start standing up for things that have happened that are not ideal and it shouldn’t always be on their shoulders to have to defend everything.”

The company has not committed to removing the toy from its shelves.

After reaching out to Ferrero Rocher, the company that produces the Kinder Surprise egg, Miller was dissatisfied with their response. The company claimed that the toy was not intended to depict any specific culture, but Miller found this explanation to be a brush-off, stating that only one culture she knows of creates igloos. Miller then contacted CBC Toronto to address the issue.

When CBC Toronto contacted Ferrero Rocher for a response, a company spokesperson expressed regret over the toy causing offense and stated that it was part of a general toy collection available globally, not intended to portray any particular culture.

The company acknowledged the feedback and pledged to consider it in future toy designs. However, when asked about removing the toy from store shelves, Ferrero Rocher did not provide a clear answer.

Advocate states that the toy failed to meet expectations.

Upon learning about the toy, Muckpaloo Ipeelie, the CEO of Urban Inuit Identity Project, was also offended.

According to Ipeelie, Inuit people are not all living in igloos, as they are modern individuals living in the present.

She believes that seeing imagery like this can lead people to believe that Inuit are prehistoric.

The Urban Inuit Identity Project is an organization that educates healthcare and social services about the cultural uniqueness of urban Inuit people to advocate for culturally safe services.

Despite the chocolate company’s assertion that the toy was not intended to represent any specific culture, Ipeelie disagrees.

“It’s absolutely an Inuit toy… they are Inuk in an igloo. There’s no doubt about that,” she says. “It’s absolutely clear that Inuit were not included in the design process of this toy.”

CBC Toronto asked the company whether any Inuit were involved in the creation of the toy. The company did not respond to that question.

Ipeelie says the company had an opportunity to design a toy that would would allow children to learn about Inuit in Canada.

“We are still here, and are not toys, and we are not here for the amusement of other people, “she said.

For her part, Miller says she wishes the company would remove the toy from shelves. While she’s not sure she’ll purchase a Kinder Surprise egg again, she feels consultation is needed.

“If you think making toys with a different cultural feel to them is something that you think is a business opportunity, then contact those cultures yourself and see what is appropriate.”

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