Wal­rus editor quits amid cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion furor

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

TORONTO — The editor-in-chief of a Cana­dian mag­a­zine has stepped down, amid a con­tentious con­ver­sa­tion about cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion in Cana­dian me­dia and lit­er­a­ture.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from The Wal­rus says Jonathan Kay re­signed on Satur­day even­ing.

Kay wrote an opin­ion piece in the Na­tional Post de­fend­ing the right to de­bate cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion, when some­body takes an im­age or ex­pe­ri­ence from a marginal­ized cul­ture with­out per­mis­sion, and claims it as their own. His piece was in re­sponse to back­lash faced by Hal Niedzviecki, who re­signed as editor of Write mag­a­zine and apol­o­gized for his ar­ti­cle in the Writ­ers’ Union of Canada pub­li­ca­tion, af­ter draw­ing ire for ap­pear­ing to en­dorse the unau­tho­rized use of indige­nous knowl­edge and tra­di­tions. Af­ter Niedzviecki re­signed, a num­ber of prom­i­nent fig­ures in Cana­dian me­dia pledged money to an ap­pro­pri­a­tion prize.

Kay wrote in his col­umn that he be­lieves in open de­bate about is­sues such as cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

But about Niedzviecki’s res­ig­na­tion, he wrote, “the ca­reers of ed­i­tors-in-chief are brief and un­pre­dictable,” and he said he sus­pected he would even­tu­ally go the same way.

Kay could not be reached for com­ment.

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