"American Indian headdresses" banned from major San Francisco festival

Second this!

The whole point is that there are A LOT less of us Native Americans in the general population. I gladly educate anyone who asks about what stuff is okay to appropriate and what’s not okay, but I’m only one person.

Native Americans have gladly shared many things with Europeans. There are certain aspects of our culture, however, which still have a lot of meaning to us, and we feel a bit troubled to see these things trivialized in this manner.

White people do in fact feel empowered to take whatever they like, do whatever they wish, without asking. That’s privilege. Nobody ever asked, “hey, is it okay if I wear this? It looks real groovy and exotic, man!”

There’s also a huge amount of history. Without that history, lots of our discussion about race and racism would simply not exist. “White people” as a privileged group would NOT be a thing, if in fact, Europeans had not developed a hierarchy of “races” in order to justify all kinds of atrocities.

To put on a hat and say “Oh, I’m now colorblind!” is naive and disrespectful.


I Morris Danced when I was young, foolish, and white. I was a longhair hippy too. I never dressed as a Native American (except for wearing beads) nor a Polynesian (except that Hawai’ian shirt) nor as an East Indian (except baggy Madras trousers) nor a Brit (except the collapsible black top hat). I never tried yellowface or redface or blackface (except Army camo).

Have I appropriated cultures? Sure. Playing 'oud lets me steal Turkey. I steal Hawai’i when I play 'ukuleles. I steal Africa when I play banjos (one made in Korea). Celtic and Arabic pipes and whistles. German harmonicas (made in China). LatinX stringed axes. And I want a sitar.

To fight cultural appropriation, ban musical instruments. They’re all foreign.


The weird thing about dreadlocks is who owns the rights to being lazy about their hair? Rastas claim it as a part of their religion, but wearing one’s hair that way predates their belief (plus some are liable to get offended when any non-believer, including other Jamaicans and blacks from outside the Caribbean, wear that hairstyle.) And one culture adopting part of another culture is as old as history-- I once witnessed an argument between a Greek and Turk over who had the right to claim the bouzouki as their own. That said, I agree that non-Natives wearing Native American headdresses is not OK.

I make jokes about white dreads, but I will admit that I briefly considered them when I was a teen and they weren’t common (thanks Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum).

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There are thousands of examples of cultural expressions that a majority of people in the culture would respect that some smaller group of people have authority over when a piece of clothing is culturally appropriate to wear.

We avoid certain clothes all the time. The issue with appropriating Native American culture is that people don’t want to give them the same consideration we give to other people every day.


There is a huge gulf of difference between appreciation and appropriation.

Learning an instrument to play common songs from another culture while paying respect to their global contribution is highly respectful.

Dressing up in caricatures of traditional dress while playing is not. Nor are songs that incorporate stereotypical musical phrasing, like all the songs that elicit thoughts of China with that damn nine-note xylophone/wood block intro, or the ubiquitous gong.


Realizing there are countless examples to chose from, that sentence immediately causes Indian Outlaw to worm its way into my ear.

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And I think a lot of what was called “jazz” back in the 80’s and 90’s was new agey elevator music, not jazz, but once that ship sailed there was no taking it back.

You guys are making valid points, but like it or not, having one or two nasty matted lumps in back is commonly referred to as “dreadlock(s)”, I hear it all the time.

No, but it might upset some natives.

It’s complicated because the phrase encompasdes a lot. Some things likw feathers and headdresdes are reserved for special occasions or foe those who earned them.

Sports teams names are usually just offensive (though not every native thinks so, people are people and don’t all think alike).

A European doing some native art may get flack because nstive artists may not get the same attention, and often the US or Canadian governments tried to stop such art from being made decades back.

If you dress as an “indian princess” for Halloween, even without a headdress, its perpetuating a stereotype that nobody wants. That’s a complicated history, some of the fur trade marriages were exploitive, and you can see a path from them to the murdered and missing women of recent years. Native women do not exist to be sexual objects, even the ones way back who married Europeans probably had much bigger roles than the books suggest.

Probably other examples. I think of being in high school and picked on because I was an outsider, but then when someone found out I could be useful to them, they’d come a calling, though they still didn’t like me.

This is like that, a long history of Europeans taking from natives or trying to erase them in some way, but when something is “cool” they take it.

Some day it may not matter, things changing enough. If you learn a native language, you probably can only.reinfirce that language, too much work to learn and nothing to take, but adding to the pool of speakers.

Apprenticing to a native artist may work, if you give it proper respect and aren’t keeping a native from learning the art, but.I’m not sure.

The foundation is respect. So much of this is not paying attention to native people, so when they complain they aren’t heard. Common sense sgould bw a consideration. Wanting to learn, even honest mistakes probably are okay, blundering in and not caring isn’t okay.


I think @knoxblox already responded soundly to this, but if you haven’t yet, I’d also encourage you to read the entire comment thread here. There are a lot of well-reasoned discussions that would help you see the difference between appropriation (and why it’s disrespectful), and appreciation (like learning to cook a food or play an instrument).


Warning, off topic, but it must be said!

Au contraire, mon frère. I’ve had 2 white roommates who opted for dreads, and lordy, the time they spent on those things! At the time, I wasn’t really aware of the cultural appropriation angle, but I thought it very disingenuous to portray this image of, “I don’t care what people think, I don’t care about image,” (for this was their idea), but then spend hours a week maintaining this appearance of not caring. Unless you want one big, bulbous dread, as a straight-haired person, they take a LOT of work.

And, now I see that it’s not an act of laziness by any hair-type. Thanks for clarifying. I’ve never had a non-white roommate with dreadlocks. So much to do. So much to see. So much to learn.

Aaaand, too many to keep quoting, I see that others have already informed you of the misunderstanding in your original post. Sorry to pile on, but I already typed it all up and all :wink:


Oh, you…

Even the “European” ones?!? (gasp) How dare you!
[too soon?]
In all seriousness, that sounds like a kickass plan. I’m similar in my overall haircare (rare trims, occasional shears to start anew) but I’m inspired to try a little more of the in-between stuff now.

And, side note. One of the white dread-locked roommates I mentioned DID decide to “undread” her hair and it was another completely labor-intensive thing, with friends spending hours combing out her shoulder-blade length hair. I think it was 18 hours, total. Maybe hers hadn’t fully taken root yet. It had been less than a year. And she had straight hair to start with.


So an american native dressing as the pope is a no-no too… Not they they necessarily would, but it’s as much of a no-no.

Dollars to doughnuts, it’s ok.

The only way I can imagine that happening would be an act of protest, and acts of protest are often things that are already considered not ok by most people when they happen. But honestly if it became a trend somehow, I bet dollars to doughnuts Catholics would not like it.


I must have missed the part in history class covering the period when American Indian Missionaries went to Rome, enslaved the local population, forced Italians to renounce Catholicism and made them all wear Native American-style clothing.

Because otherwise it would be a pretty ridiculous comparison, no?


That’s a different time line, but they had to become Christians first…


To make it perfectly clear, and stop the “misunderstanding” (IMHO, I think it’s definitely sea-lioning) and put this to rest so everyone here can see you were explained to in the clearest terms…

Racism, cultural appropriation, all of that…is a matter of systemic power and disenfranchisement built on centuries of aggression and exploitation which generations of people (historically, white-european descent) have benefited from, directly or indirectly.
Bigotry can be an element, in cases like the alt-right…or not, in cases like the establishment types who work to ensure that inequlaties remain in place to ensure wealth inequality.


At lowest estimation, 5 million Native Americans dead from planned genocide and land theft, and white people have the nerve to bitch about not being able to wear headdresses to a music festival.

At the very least, think on how much work and hate had to go into wiping out that many people with the limited resources of the time.


But that was a long time ago! What does that have to do with today? /s


I am willing to believe it, but I don’t know the person you’re referring to, I only know my college professor who studied the subject. Why is your anecdotal account weightier than his academic experience? If the thread is about cultural appropriation then I’m not derailing it at all, I’m contributing ideas same as you. If the thread is only about the specific case of headdresses, then sure, I’m out of line.

Of course, but do we all agree on what constitutes cultural appropriation, as opposed to harmless cultural mash-ups or borrowing? Are you 100% sure there aren’t things you personally like which others will call cultural appropriation?

Nowhere did I defend white people wearing headdresses, which is very obviously disrespectful. In fact I said quite the opposite.

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The most successful cultural appropriator of the twentieth century. Should he have stuck to country?