I said nothing because I didn’t want to ruin the kids’ fun, but I could tell that Eva was upset. rights reserved. In fact, everyone involved in this program was non-Native, which means that there was already a barrier to these kids getting accurate information about Indigenous cultures. So how do we explain something this complicated to our kids? Posted by 2 months ago. Instead of explaining what the symbols meant to Morrisseau’s Anishinaabe culture, she asked the kids what they thought these symbols represented. But as parents, we have to recognize that there are topics we aren’t knowledgeable about and then do our best to make sure that our children are knowledgeable about them. These differences should not be judged, any more than we should judge somebody for their height or the amount of freckles on their face. Wendigos, teepees and cultural appropriation. “I think that we’re going through this period where native-inspired design is really fascinating and interesting for a lot of people,” said Charleyboy, who studied fashion at Ryerson University. When this is done, the imitator, “who does not experience that oppression is able to ‘play,’ temporarily, an ‘exotic’ other, without experiencing any of the daily discriminations faced by other cultures.” Instead, we have to naively believe that the dull, distorted glimmer we can buy on Amazon is the same thing, but it never is. Indians Upset at Cultural Appropriation of TeePees. Teepees, or tipis, are a real cultural object used as dwellings by several Native Nations, including the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. As much as I appreciate those teachers wanting to include Indigenous culture in their curriculum, we need to consider how we’re teaching our kids about other cultures and what exactly we’re teaching them. She finds it more upsetting when items like feathered headdresses are sold as accessories — as they were at H&M last year — because they are sacred ceremonial objects. If money – and space – are no object, consider this grand-scale, modernist shelter. This was being respectful and honest. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution November 20, 2017. “To be honest, I was surprised the first time I saw them,” said Abbey, a Plains Cree entrepreneur. But critics say turning teepees into furniture is just one more example of cultural appropriation, taking a famous symbol of aboriginal culture and stripping it of all context before selling it. Cultural appropriation musings aside, teepees are inspiring structures that deserve applause for their ingenious design. Soon their friends started placing orders for their own, so they started the company and set up a website two weeks ago. I read some stuff yesterday saying that teepees are cultural appropriation and there was a long post about how wendigos aren’t cryptids and how stories about them are cultural appropriation. But Charleyboy also acknowledges that appropriation is often in the eye of the beholder: her Tsilhqot’in ancestors in British Columbia didn’t build teepees so she doesn’t have a personal connection with them. “I do see how it can be problematic, but I think how problematic it is really depends on the kids and the parents.” I agree. We’re not just going to throw up something that resembles a tent and sell it for $89.99. Nevertheless, teepees have become common in many homes around the world as a space for children to play … hide. 29 comments. There were a few things that made me particularly interested to see how this would go: My daughter, Eva, is Haudenosaunee and has no problem voicing her opinion, and there are no other Indigenous kids in her class. Why your white kid probably shouldn’t dress up as Moana for Halloween The same people that called me “gross” and “ignorant” for having a play teepee I would bet have been guilty of elements of cultural appropriation themselves.So just looking for some perspective. When we don’t have the meaning of the symbols we see and use, we can’t see and appreciate a culture’s full beauty. Where did they get their information from? Rightly or wrongly, there have been some criticisms of teepees for ignoring their traditional routes. I’m just struggling to understand the significance of it. There is no shame in that—that’s honesty, and that’s admirable. Everything we teach our children has implicit messages. I’m going to take a liberty here and say that based on my studies of Dr. Montessori’s work, she would have been much more concerned about the horrified reaction from the Indigenous community than in favor of the tipi’s use as a play tent for the child. My daughter is at risk because she’s Aboriginal and female. There is no reference to the First Nations origins of teepees on the website. Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. “We wanted to build an interior structure that would provide a bit of privacy in an otherwise open-concept living space,” they said in an emailed statement. I recently had a friend – a nice white lady I’ve known for years – ask me whether buying moccasins for her infant son would be considered cultural appropriation, and therefore offensive. After all, your kids like something and they’re too young to have bad intentions, so who is it harming? There's a really fine line between imaginative play, where we try on a life or culture unfamilier to us, and cultural appropriation, where we take bits and pieces of another culture without being respectful of the whole. They were and are real homes for real people and continue to be used ceremonially by many of these tribes too as they hold onto their traditional ways that … Cultural appropriation is the adoption of an element or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture or identity. And imagine that their parents and politicians back them up. I recently volunteered to accompany my daughter’s fifth-grade class on a field trip to a conservatory. The same people that called me “gross” and “ignorant” for having a play teepee I would bet have been guilty of elements of cultural appropriation themselves. It’s awarded to a member of the Canadian Forces who shows “conspicuous bravery, daring or pre-eminent acts of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.” Imagine if a bunch of American teenagers decide that they like the look of the Canadian Victoria Cross and buy replica medals and pin them on their shirts while they party at Coachella. Overcoming centuries of cultural appropriation may seem scary, but when you shift your focus to respect and consent instead of outrage, it gets much easier. Why are parents so defensive about play teepees? The discussion around it has also been unfolding on social media for years, with a heightening frenzy. All Teepees were the traditional dwellings for Plains aboriginal groups. Some cultures are more religious; some value education more highly; some are more hierarchical, etc. Adrienne K., from the excellent blog Native Appropriations, recently appeared on the Al Jazeera English show The Stream to discuss issues of cultural appropriation of Native American cultures in fashion and home decor, sports mascots, and so on. Recently, I saw a member of a Facebook photography group called Fire and Ice Photography Society, post this photo, asking if it was a child role play or cultural appropriation. One of the planned activities was an art project. save. Why were we using another culture’s symbols for whatever we wanted? 2. Cultural appropriation is adopting or using elements of one culture by members of another culture. When we don’t have the meaning of the symbols we see and use, we can’t see and appreciate a culture’s full beauty. How did that teach them anything about the Anishinaabe or their culture? Those whose cultures are appropriated often have the added trauma of being treated poorly by society at large. The obsessions and ideas that kids get can be used to educate them. Read more: By Alicia Elliott If you were thinking instead of hogans, yes, a manufactured plastic and nylon play hogan would most definitely be considered cultural appropriation. High-end décor chains such as Elte, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware sell them for hundreds of dollars. So far they have sold nine, they said. She was right. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6. In fact, I’d encourage you to admit to your children that you don’t know everything about other cultures and are still learning as well. To order copies of Cultural appropriation is when a tradition, such as clothing or a hairstyle, is taken from a culture and used in a different way. Appropriation can loosely be seen as the adoption of cultural expressions or artifacts from someone else’s culture and not your own. When I was a child, I was shamed for both having a Native father and wearing moccasins by kids whose parents hung Made in China dreamcatchers on their rear-view mirrors. That’s what I did with my daughter. Then she passed out a paper with a number of symbols on it, from lizards to fish to different symbols that looked like people. “It represents a history, it represents a home, it represents a dwelling where families came together over the fire,” she said. “It hasn’t really been this trendy to have native-inspired anything since the ’70s.”. I told her that the Anishinaabe were not our people and their symbols weren’t ours, but they were our friends. Overcoming centuries of cultural appropriation may seem scary, but when you reframe your thinking to focus on respect and consent instead of immediate outrage, it all becomes much easier. ‘Cultural appropriation is defined as a “sociological concept which views the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture as a largely negative phenomenon”. She agreed with every interpretation, offered no clarification on the importance of these symbols to the Anishinaabe and invited the kids to pick symbols from the paper that they related to and draw them to represent themselves. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about The same people that called me “gross” and “ignorant” for having a play teepee I would bet have been guilty of elements of cultural appropriation themselves. I think it’s not as simple as slapping “cultural appropriation” on it. The woman in charge spoke a little bit about Norval Morrisseau and told the class he used symbols from his culture in his art. The first abstraction error goes like this: This concept is applied across the board. Cultural appropriation is one of those terms that has become almost vulgar to those who are over political correctness and feel like you ‘just can’t say anything anymore’. .newsletter-signup-widget{display:inline-block;width:300px;padding:0.5rem;margin-left:0.5rem;float:right;border:1px solid #ccc}@media (max-width: 525px){.newsletter-signup-widget{float:none;display:block;width:280px;margin:0 auto 2rem}} Now imagine companies all over the world rushing to produce fake Victoria Cross medals to meet this new, though disrespectful, demand. And it’s an odd reaction. It already has more than 100 sellers. “I think teepees are interesting and beautiful and I can understand why people want that,” she said. It’s just something that’s trendy at the moment.”. Or is an unrelated group or corporation selling this culture to me? We need to respect their right to say no and share their culture on their own, more meaningful terms. If people want to bring elements of indigenous culture into their homes, Abbey said, she hopes they will consider pieces made by indigenous artists. Subscribe to our daily newsletter! Now imagine asking these kids not to wear those replica Victoria Cross medals like that, painstakingly explaining to them what they mean to Canada and how that use is disrespectful. Some have questioned whether they are, in fact a cultural appropriation of a Native American home. The newest accessory for your already perfect nursery? I think where this goes wrong is when you strip it of all its cultural meaning and simply do so because you “want to”. It is without question cultural appropriation. That’s OK. In Article. They decided on a teepee after seeing them in other shops. I’d never say that someone who has never had the misfortune of experiencing something awful like racism is a bad parent. Judging by the art project, I couldn’t really tell. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Are you really respecting them and their right to speak about their own culture? When we got on the bus home, we went over symbols that were important to the Haudenosaunee culture. I just feel like there’s a lot of blurred lines and hypocrisy. Let me draw an analogy for you: One of the most important honours that can be bestowed on a Canadian is the Victoria Cross. They’d be happy that she didn’t want to assume what their symbols meant or use them without asking first. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.. It felt as though Indigenous cultures were free for the picking—a pretty quaint grab bag that you could reach into and steal from whenever you wished. Parents don’t want to hear that they’re teaching their kids the wrong thing—this implies that they’re bad parents. report. permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. This was being a good friend. Nov 28, 2017 - Overcoming centuries of cultural appropriation may seem scary, but when you shift your focus to respect and consent instead of outrage, it gets much easier. Can’t kids just have fun? “It was never our intention to offend, hurt people, or make anyone angry,” their statement said. People everywhere start wearing this symbol without any knowledge or concern for the specific cultural meaning it holds, the honour it’s meant to bestow upon its wearer or the pride it represents. A new Toronto business, the Parkdale Teepee Company, has been the target of social media ire this week. It may seem hard, but I assure you that kids are able to understand these things. . Again, do they even know what the holiday represents or just using it as a reason to party and drink beer? Those symbols meant nothing to her because they weren’t from our Haudenosaunee culture. Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture can be reduced to “exotic” fashion by those from the dominant culture. How could these parents hang Indigenous symbols in their cars while their kids made fun of me for trying to celebrate my own Haudenosaunee culture? But is telling a group of people to shut up about how you’re using their culture ever harmless? Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star Eagle-eyed readers Andrea, Laura, and Mieko spotted these “adorable” tipi’s all over tumblr last week. I just feel like there’s a lot of blurred lines and hypocrisy. Who did they consult? It’s very easy to dismiss cries of cultural appropriation and claim that it’s harmless. Whether their kids are wearing insensitive “Native princess” costumes (whatever that is—my people certainly had no monarchy) or performing careless Japanese tea ceremonies, anger is almost always the first and most powerful response that people have when you ask them to respect other cultures. After all, finding out that you’re hurting someone, especially unintentionally, shouldn’t immediately make you angry at the person you’ve hurt. Examples of cultural appropriation are everywhere you look in pop culture, fashion, and even food.The "is it appropriation, or appreciation?" 0. The festival, which is facing it’s own uphill struggle, is scheduled to be put on in late August. Why not go … question, in particular, has sprouted annually ahead of Halloween costume season in recent years. This could either be very good or very bad. Why your white kid probably shouldn’t dress up as Moana for Halloween, My daughter is at risk because she’s Aboriginal and female. Raising kids I saw these cloth “teepees” (they were called tents, though) about during the playdate toddler years. Instead, we : 11. “Couldn’t be Parkdale forts/something less racist?” wrote one Twitter user with the name Erin Styles. There is no faster way to ruffle feathers than to accuse someone of cultural appropriation. © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. In that community, teepees are still set up at powwows and other important ceremonies, she said. Then, the story goes, because all cultures are essentially equal, any differences in the socio-economic status … We actually see this regularly in our generation. If people from a particular culture are asking you not to use a symbol you don’t understand and your response is to ignore this simple request—all while claiming that misusing their symbol is actually “honouring” them—are you honouring them? If we really appreciate these cultures, we need to respect the actual people who have upheld and nurtured them for centuries. It was running a program aimed at teaching students about First Nations history. Abbey is from Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan. The problem with conversations on cultural appropriation is that those who get accused of it usually haven’t experienced having their own culture stolen, misrepresented and used in disrespectful ways. It didn’t make sense. Now, of course no one wants to hear that they’re letting their kids do something wrong, culturally insensitive or harmful. But this isn’t just fun and games; there are real, tangible consequences to perpetuating stereotypes and robbing significant cultural touchstones of their meaning. The person leading the project was non-Native. Things like teepees and dreamcatchers aren’t revered in the same way, she said. Wouldn’t that upset you? It has meaning to us.”, Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. Cultural appropriation occurs when a person from one cultural adopts the fashion, iconography, trends, or styles from another culture. There is no faster way to ruffle feathers than to accuse someone of cultural appropriation. Mahjong, the centuries-old Chinese tile game, became embroiled in controversy last week over a debate about cultural appropriation. But what could you do to stop it, other than ask them to stop appropriating your culture? When I asked her if she was OK, she complained that the project was stupid. Heather Abbey did a double-take when she first came across photos on Pinterest of miniature teepees decorating children’s bedrooms. Is it cultural appropriation to buy my child a play 'teepee'? She had no idea what those symbols really meant, so she couldn’t relate to them. share. Is someone from this culture choosing to share their culture with me? Lighter Side! . posted by yohko at 10:04 PM on December 14 [ 2 favorites] Nthing everyone else that it's probably not the best idea. “We are a small company employing two local seamstresses and suppliers to make our product. When it comes to cultural appropriation, the entertainment companies are the ones to blame, according to Jennifer Gabriel, author of Korean culture blog … Is it cultural appropriation to buy my child a play 'teepee'? Michael Byron ... Airbnb apologized this week after being accused of committing an act of cultural appropriation stemming from an ad for a weekend rental property in California consisting of a ‘Sioux-style’ teepee. They’re “where the stylish 7-year-old has play dates and story time,” the Wall Street Journal wrote, noting that celebrities such as Nicole Richie and Miley Cyrus had them. HomeSense makes a miniature version for dogs. 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