Dear Christina Fallin…
Read the latest entry from @nativeapprops in response to this latest “honoring” of Native people.
#nativeappropriations #culture #trend #honor #disrespect
Over the last few years I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of non-Indians appropriating Native regalia and symbols such as headdresses, simply because they believe it looks “cool” or “interesting.” When called out on this offensive behavior, they always defend themselves by using the same tired excuses—I was trying to honor Indians, or, I was wearing it as a tribute to the beautiful Native American culture (note the singular use of culture)—and rarely offer up a genuine apology. But something occurred to me when reading Christina Fallin’s poor excuse for an apology for donning a headdress for a photo shoot recently (see above photo) and then titling the photo on Facebook and Instagram as “appropriate culturation.” It occurred to me that she thought, like all of the other more prominent people in recent years who decided to “play Indian,” she would be the great exception to the rule. That she, although non-Indian, had the right connections (she is the daughter of the governor of Oklahoma, and she claims to have “come into contact with Native American culture” her whole life, whatever the hell that means), and that this would get her the pass on cultural insensitivity that has been denied to No Doubt, Lana Del Ray, Johnny Depp, etc. As Adrienne K. Pointed out in her recent post on Native Appropriations about this, by titling the photo “appropriate culturation,” she clearly knew about the controversy surrounding such actions and imagery, and cannot claim ignorance. Fallin simply believed that she was above reproach on the matter, and that she would not only get the pass, but even be lauded for her boldness. Just so everyone is on the same page, there will never be a pass for this type of culturally offensive behavior, it simply does not exist.
Nirvana in MTV Unplugged. 1993.
Karen O & Ezra Koenig “The Moon Song”
Rail Yard Pedestrian Bridge — Laramie, Wyoming (2010)
You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies — Yayoi Kusama — Phoenix Art Museum
Spring in the Sonoran Desert (2007)
Amtrak Station — Lawrence, Kansas