A couple weeks ago we talked about cultural appropriation as a hot button feminist issue, and one of the points was costumes parodying cultures. An intersection that has a particular issue with appropriation is the Native American culture.
Native Americans have a history of oppression, forced assimilation and violence in the United States. The white, American perception of Native Americans is stuck in the past, with many people visualizing historical paintings and images instead of living, breathing people.
That sort of disconnect contributes to cultural appropriation which is unfortunately rampant.
In today’s festival fashion culture, Native Headdresses are often used as an accessory for non-Native people. Using such an important, cultural symbol so lightly is disrespectful and trivializes a cultural staple that many people fought and died for. This is a prime example of cultural appropriation that directly targets and hurts Native customs.
Cultural appropriation is an issue that often gets blown out of proportion, but in the case of Native American customs like wearing headdresses and costumes it is definitely real and problematic.
Native American people were the original Americans and lost land, culture and community. Now, they are still facing Issues as a disenfranchised group, struggling for many things like representation and clean water. As the fight to move forward continues, keeping these people in the past and trivializing their current customs is an issue keeping this group down. The fight to modernize and support this community, and keeping their culture unappropriated is a major issue for modern, media-savvy feminists.