Volkswagen faces heat over post involving Indigenous art installation in Hamilton


Published October 3, 2023 at 7:52 pm

Hamilton Volkswagen has found itself in the midst of controversy following a social media post related to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The post featured one of the dealership’s new vehicles, the 2024 Atlas, positioned in front of an art installation art installation titled “All Our Relations,” created by a local Indigenous artist, Angela DeMontigny.

DeMontigny expressed her outrage on Instagram, denouncing the car dealership’s actions as “disgusting” and “shameful.”

In her post, she questioned the appropriation of a national day meant to recognize Indigenous survivors of the residential school system.

“How dare you use a national day designated to recognize Indigenous survivors of the genocidal residential school system and the children who never made it home along with the All Our Relations public art installation I designed for an ad for your newest vehicle?” said DeMontigny in her post.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Angela DeMontigny (@angelademontigny)

The All Our Relations art installation, unveiled by the City of Hamilton at Bayfront Park on Sept. 30, stands 40 feet tall and features five panels adorned with glass beads, symbolizing traditional Indigenous teachings.

Hamilton Volkswagen had initially posted a photo on its social media platforms, however, due to the swift backlash from the community and Angela DeMontigny herself, the post has been removed.

In response to the criticism, Hamilton Volkswagen issued an apology on social media, expressing deep regret for the insensitive post.

The statement acknowledged the exceptional craftsmanship of Angela DeMontigny, as well as the contributions of Cobalt Connects, Paull Rodrigue Glass, and LaFontaine Ironwerks in creating the artwork.

“It is with the highest integrity, that our intention was, and still is to promote her unique artwork and assist with building awareness around Indigenous National Day of Truth and Reconciliation,” Hamilton Volkswagen said in an Instagram post.

“As a local business, it brings a great sense of warmth to have such a wonderful and supportive community, and individuals like Angela contributing to the overall wellbeing.”

“We have since removed the post and have learned from this situation. Moving forward we will continue to show our support and exercise greater sensitivity for the local community and all individuals,” they added.

inthehammer's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising