Members of the Cowichan Tribes had the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) tied up in knots recently when it accused VANOC of stealing the Cowichan’s traditional sweater design, popularly known as the “Cowichan Sweater”. VANOC had initially asked the Cowichan Tribes to bid on the contract to supply the sweater (which is part of the Team Canada uniform) but chose instead to give the contract to an outside supplier over concerns regarding the Cowichan’s ability to deliver sufficient quantities in the required timeframe.
The Cowichan decried the move, which they saw as an infringement of their well known design. Olympic torch-relay protests were planned, but tensions quickly unravelled when VANOC and the Bay offered the Cowichan a license deal for their sweaters. As a result of these negotiations, Cowichan-made sweaters will now be available at the Bay. Cowichan knitters will be licensed suppliers to the Olympics and will be entitled to display the Olympic logos alongside Cowichan trade-marks.