Organizers pull plug on trail race after concerns raised by Pabineau First Nation artist

Phyllis Grant

Organizers of the "Mi'gmaq 100 Ultra Trail" race have cancelled the event after an artist from the Pabineau First Nation expressed concerns over its name and her art being used on its trophy.

Last week renowned Indigenous artist Phyllis Grant expressed concerns about an altered version of her art being used on the trophy, as well as with the name being used for what she calls a "non-Indigenous" event.

On Monday, the committee issued a statement on the event's Facebook page, offering an apology for using Grants art and saying it would consult with Pabineau First Nation's Chief and Council about the name of the race.

The group also said Grant's art would no longer be used in any capacity, including on the trophy. 

But in a statement Tuesday, the committee says it made the difficult decision to cancel the race because they didn't take adequate steps to ensure the shared interests of all parties were met.

Organizers say their objective from the beginning was to promote the trail, encourage physical activity and outdoor recreation, as well as donate proceeds to the trail's development and maintenance.

Grant says she feels disheartened that event organizers felt the need to cancel the race without acknowledging issues needing to be addressed.

She says she's not a "shared interest" and doesn't want her work associated with a non-Indigenous athletic event.

Grant says she feels the committee is blame shifting instead of practicing cultural competence.