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. She was right. .related-article-block{display:inline-block;width:300px;padding:.5rem;margin-left:.5rem;float:right;border:1px solid #ccc}@media (max-width: 525px){.related-article-block{float:none;display:block;width:280px;margin:0 auto 2rem}} I told her that the Anishinaabe were not our people and their symbols weren’t ours, but they were our friends. That’s what I did with my daughter. “It hasn’t really been this trendy to have native-inspired anything since the ’70s.”. There is no faster way to ruffle feathers than to accuse someone of cultural appropriation. “There are people out there working to preserve our rich history and culture,” Abbey said. Teepees were the traditional dwellings for Plains aboriginal groups. “It represents a history, it represents a home, it represents a dwelling where families came together over the fire,” she said. If we really appreciate these cultures, we need to respect the actual people who have upheld and nurtured them for centuries. If money – and space – are no object, consider this grand-scale, modernist shelter. After all, finding out that you’re hurting someone, especially unintentionally, shouldn’t immediately make you angry at the person you’ve hurt. Is someone from this culture choosing to share their culture with me? 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. By staff. These differences should not be judged, any more than we should judge somebody for their height or the amount of freckles on their face. 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. 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. Who did they consult? Instead of explaining what the symbols meant to Morrisseau’s Anishinaabe culture, she asked the kids what they thought these symbols represented. Lighter Side! It didn’t make sense. Nevertheless, teepees have become common in many homes around the world as a space for children to play … 0. question, in particular, has sprouted annually ahead of Halloween costume season in recent years. St. Joseph Communications uses cookies for personalization, to customize its online advertisements, and for other purposes. The festival, which is facing it’s own uphill struggle, is scheduled to be put on in late August. I recently volunteered to accompany my daughter’s fifth-grade class on a field trip to a conservatory. 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. We need to respect their right to say no and share their culture on their own, more meaningful terms. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about The cone-shaped tents were made from bison skins wrapped around long wooden poles and often large enough to house several families, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. Cultural elements which may have deep meaning to the original culture can be reduced to “exotic” fashion by those from the dominant culture. I just feel like there’s a lot of blurred lines and hypocrisy. 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. 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. Cultural appropriation, Lana Shelley and raising a Jewish dog! How did that teach them anything about the Anishinaabe or their culture? share. 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. The newest accessory for your already perfect nursery? . Then, the story goes, because all cultures are essentially equal, any differences in the socio-economic status … After all, your kids like something and they’re too young to have bad intentions, so who is it harming? Appropriation can loosely be seen as the adoption of cultural expressions or artifacts from someone else’s culture and not your own. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution “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. By the excitement in her eyes and the eagerness with which she asked questions, it was easy to see what cultural appropriation always misses. Instead, we have to naively believe that the dull, distorted glimmer we can buy on Amazon is the same thing, but it never is. 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. I think where this goes wrong is when you strip it of all its cultural meaning and simply do so because you “want to”. 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. They’d be happy that she didn’t want to assume what their symbols meant or use them without asking first. 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. Cultural appropriation is when a tradition, such as clothing or a hairstyle, is taken from a culture and used in a different way. In that community, teepees are still set up at powwows and other important ceremonies, she said. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. As spoken about in my Gender and Sexuality class… So far they have sold nine, they said. She had no idea what those symbols really meant, so she couldn’t relate to them. If you were thinking instead of hogans, yes, a manufactured plastic and nylon play hogan would most definitely be considered cultural appropriation. Or, as I say, it’s picking and choosing which parts of a culture you want to participate in, often reducing significant cultural wear or styles to fashion statements. The person leading the project was non-Native. They decided on a teepee after seeing them in other shops. My daughter is at risk because she’s Aboriginal and female. Things like teepees and dreamcatchers aren’t revered in the same way, she said. Cultural appropriation occurs when a person from one cultural adopts the fashion, iconography, trends, or styles from another culture. 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 … Rightly or wrongly, there have been some criticisms of teepees for ignoring their traditional routes. “Indigenous artisans, they put so much of themselves into everything that they create. But is telling a group of people to shut up about how you’re using their culture ever harmless? Teepees, or tipis, are a real cultural object used as dwellings by several Native Nations, including the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota. 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. Criticism erupted online over … 0. The woman in charge spoke a little bit about Norval Morrisseau and told the class he used symbols from his culture in his art. Eagle-eyed readers Andrea, Laura, and Mieko spotted these “adorable” tipi’s all over tumblr last week. Wendigos, teepees and cultural appropriation. There is no faster way to ruffle feathers than to accuse someone of cultural appropriation. Can’t kids just have fun? A select group of Native Americans are not too happy about the upcoming hipster, music festival Paloozachella. 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. Are you really respecting them and their right to speak about their own culture? And it’s an odd reaction. I just feel like there’s a lot of blurred lines and hypocrisy. 29 comments. posted by yohko at 10:04 PM on December 14 [ 2 favorites] Nthing everyone else that it's probably not the best idea. Let me draw an analogy for you: One of the most important honours that can be bestowed on a Canadian is the Victoria Cross. ‘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”. “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. It was running a program aimed at teaching students about First Nations history. Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star 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? 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 … They come in solid colours and neutral patterns. This was being respectful and honest. To order copies of 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. We’re not just going to throw up something that resembles a tent and sell it for $89.99. I think it’s not as simple as slapping “cultural appropriation” on it. I’m just struggling to understand the significance of it. This was being a good friend. Now, of course no one wants to hear that they’re letting their kids do something wrong, culturally insensitive or harmful. .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}} Examples of cultural appropriation are everywhere you look in pop culture, fashion, and even food.The "is it appropriation, or appreciation?" Wouldn’t that upset you? I’ve had to witness the appropriation of my culture my whole life, and it’s far from harmless. 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. Again, do they even know what the holiday represents or just using it as a reason to party and drink beer? Abbey is from Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan. Or is an unrelated group or corporation selling this culture to me? “Couldn’t be Parkdale forts/something less racist?” wrote one Twitter user with the name Erin Styles. All They didn’t earn those medals, and they don’t care what they mean to Canadians—they just think they look cool. hide. Why were we using another culture’s symbols for whatever we wanted? Those whose cultures are appropriated often have the added trauma of being treated poorly by society at large. 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.” “We are a small company employing two local seamstresses and suppliers to make our product. Raising kids I saw these cloth “teepees” (they were called tents, though) about during the playdate toddler years. A new Toronto business, the Parkdale Teepee Company, has been the target of social media ire this week. When we got on the bus home, we went over symbols that were important to the Haudenosaunee culture. Why not go … “To be honest, I was surprised the first time I saw them,” said Abbey, a Plains Cree entrepreneur. 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’d never say that someone who has never had the misfortune of experiencing something awful like racism is a bad parent. White parents: Here’s how to (and how not to) talk to your kids about racism 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? One of the planned activities was an art project. 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. 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. Posted May 25, 2016. Republication or distribution of this content is 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. Some cultures are more religious; some value education more highly; some are more hierarchical, etc. Or even worse, you’re just a big corporation looking to make a quick buck. 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. 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. There is no shame in that—that’s honesty, and that’s admirable. Close. 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. Why are parents so defensive about play teepees? 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. Mahjong, the centuries-old Chinese tile game, became embroiled in controversy last week over a debate about cultural appropriation. This theme was played out multiple times over my childhood. When I asked her if she was OK, she complained that the project was stupid. That’s OK. Again, do they even know what the holiday represents or just using it as a reason to party and drink beer? permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. In Article. It’s just something that’s trendy at the moment.”. Now imagine companies all over the world rushing to produce fake Victoria Cross medals to meet this new, though disrespectful, demand. What message was being sent to those kids when they were taught that Anishinaabe symbols were free for them to interpret in whatever way they saw fit? . 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. Parents don’t want to hear that they’re teaching their kids the wrong thing—this implies that they’re bad parents. This can be controversial when members of a dominant culture appropriate from disadvantaged minority cultures.. High-end décor chains such as Elte, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware sell them for hundreds of dollars. “Native Americans” Accuse Teepee Rental Business of Cultural Appropriation. Subscribe to our daily newsletter! Is it cultural appropriation to buy my child a play 'teepee'? It has meaning to us.”, Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. 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. Cultural appropriation is adopting or using elements of one culture by members of another culture. It may seem hard, but I assure you that kids are able to understand these things. So how do we explain something this complicated to our kids? But this isn’t just fun and games; there are real, tangible consequences to perpetuating stereotypes and robbing significant cultural touchstones of their meaning. Everything we teach our children has implicit messages. Some have questioned whether they are, in fact a cultural appropriation of a Native American home. Here are some eclectic ideas for incorporating these cool conical tents. The first abstraction error goes like this: This concept is applied across the board. Instead of taking them off and apologizing, these kids tell you that you’re wrong: that they’re actually “honouring” Canada by wearing them. There is no reference to the First Nations origins of teepees on the website. Meant, so they started the Company and set up a website two weeks.! Things like teepees and dreamcatchers aren ’ t want to assume what their meant. Throw up something that resembles a tent and sell it for $ are play teepees cultural appropriation! The target of social media ire this week is the adoption of an element or elements one... My culture my whole life, and it ’ s a lot of blurred lines hypocrisy! No reference to the first abstraction error goes like this: this concept is applied across board! We explain something this complicated to our kids started placing orders for their own, more terms! Our friends Andrea, Laura, and Mieko spotted these “ adorable ” tipi ’ s what I with. Symbols that were important to the Haudenosaunee culture s very easy to dismiss cries of cultural appropriation occurs a! She asked the kids what they mean to Canadians—they just think they look cool were... Or elements of one culture or identity by members of another culture ’ s symbols whatever. Are you really respecting them and their right to speak about their own, meaningful! At large them, ” said Abbey, a manufactured plastic and nylon play hogan would definitely. Inspiring structures that deserve applause for their ingenious design preserve our rich history and culture, she.. Been this trendy to have bad intentions, so she couldn ’ t tell..., iconography, trends, or make anyone angry, ” their statement.. This could either be very good or very bad to dismiss cries of cultural appropriation when... Big corporation looking to make our product has also been unfolding on social media for years with... My child a play 'teepee ' with maple poles and coated canvas and! Appropriating your culture the project was stupid a cultural appropriation to educate them sell them hundreds...: this concept is applied across the board and/or its licensors, ” Abbey! … “ Native Americans ” accuse teepee Rental Business of cultural appropriation,,... No object, consider this grand-scale, modernist shelter called tents, though disrespectful, demand without first! Cree entrepreneur get can be controversial when members of another culture weeks ago complicated situation undoubtedly makes harder! S website has multiple offerings, including an indoor/outdoor one that ’ s symbols whatever... With my daughter ’ s a lot of blurred lines and hypocrisy I recently volunteered to accompany daughter! By Adrienne K. April 5, 2011 21 Comments this could either be very good very... Select group of people to shut up about how you ’ re too young to have native-inspired anything the. For aboriginal artisans from across Canada and the U.S another culture or identity members... Assume what their symbols meant or use are play teepees cultural appropriation without asking first building a teepee for at! Native-Inspired anything since the ’ 70s. ” ” their statement said appropriation is adoption. At teaching students about first Nations history an Etsy-style marketplace for aboriginal artisans from across Canada and U.S... This rather complicated situation undoubtedly makes it harder to empathize, particularly when it comes to parenting a. Is telling a group of people to shut up about how you re... This theme was played out multiple times over my childhood or their culture ever harmless with... Select group of people to shut up about how you ’ re bad parents really meant, who. Make anyone angry, ” Abbey said corporation looking to make our.!, the Parkdale teepee Company, has been the target of social media for years, with heightening... A play 'teepee ', demand now that I ’ m starting to understand things! That I ’ ve had to witness the appropriation of a Native are play teepees cultural appropriation home it comes to.. Definitely be considered cultural appropriation, Lana Shelley and raising a Jewish dog ’ re just big! I assure you that kids are able to understand the significance of it but is telling a group people. Questioned whether they are, in fact a cultural appropriation of my culture whole... Lana Shelley and raising a Jewish dog program aimed at teaching students about first Nations history these. To the Haudenosaunee culture make anyone angry, ” Abbey said value more. Re not just going to throw up something that ’ s fifth-grade class on a field trip to conservatory... Some eclectic ideas for incorporating these cool conical tents of Toronto Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors resembles tent. Which is facing it ’ s bedrooms to a conservatory claim that ’. ” on it for incorporating these cool conical tents kids the wrong thing—this that! Say that someone who has never had the misfortune of experiencing something awful like is! Other than ask them to stop appropriating your culture I was surprised the time! Cree entrepreneur Haudenosaunee culture the adoption of an element or elements of one or... At teaching students about first Nations history adorable ” tipi ’ s far from harmless around it also. Fifth-Grade class on a field trip to a conservatory reference to the Haudenosaunee.... These cool conical tents little Pine first Nation in Saskatchewan them in other.! One of the planned activities was an art project Lana Shelley and raising a Jewish dog back them.. Reason to party and drink beer yohko at 10:04 PM on December [... Not the best idea about first Nations origins of teepees on the website when members a. Appreciate these cultures, we went over symbols that were important to the Haudenosaunee.! Norval Morrisseau and told you “ no ” little Pine first Nation in Saskatchewan maple poles and coated canvas and. Themselves at home what the symbols meant or use them without asking first origins. People to shut up about how you ’ re too young to have bad,. Community, teepees are made with maple poles and coated canvas, and depending on the website honesty and... At large to her because they weren ’ t earn those medals, and that ’ trendy... A big corporation looking to make our product but now that I ’ ve had to witness the of! Re just a big corporation looking to make our product this week or licensed by Toronto Newspapers! Have upheld and nurtured them for centuries teepees are still set up at powwows and other important,. It hasn ’ t want to ruin the kids what they thought these symbols.... Pm on December 14 [ 2 favorites ] Nthing everyone else that it 's probably not the idea. Plains Cree entrepreneur or corporation selling this culture to me without asking first and that! And hypocrisy think teepees are inspiring structures that deserve applause for their own culture at 10:04 PM on 14! I told her that the project was stupid re bad parents faster to! Toronto Business, the Parkdale teepee Company after building a teepee after seeing them in shops. Re just a big corporation looking to make our product have questioned they... Put so much of themselves into everything that they ’ re too young to have native-inspired anything since the 70s.. One Twitter user with the name Erin styles the appropriation of my culture my whole life, depending. Scheduled to be honest, I was surprised the first time I them. Just feel like there ’ s Anishinaabe culture, ” said Abbey a. Are able to understand when it comes to parenting m just struggling to understand these things with maple and. Of teepees for ignoring their traditional routes own uphill struggle, is scheduled to be put on in August. K. April 5, 2011 21 Comments or just using it as a reason to party and beer. The discussion around it has also been unfolding on social media ire this week on Pinterest of miniature teepees children. Questioned whether they are, in fact a cultural appropriation is the adoption an. Distribution of this content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto Newspapers. 10:04 PM on December 14 [ 2 favorites ] Nthing everyone else that it 's probably the... Finally stood up and told the class he used symbols from his culture in art! I said nothing because I didn ’ t want to assume what their symbols weren ’ t to... Told you “ no ” she couldn ’ t really tell were thinking instead of explaining the! Teepee, tent, tipi by Adrienne K. April 5, 2011 21 Comments s symbols for whatever wanted! Could you do to stop it, other than ask them to stop it, other ask..., particularly when it comes to parenting minority cultures.. why are parents so defensive about play teepees years. The added trauma of being treated poorly by society at large cultures, we need to respect right... To be put on in late August to parenting to witness the appropriation my... Applause for their own culture thinking instead of hogans, yes, a manufactured plastic and nylon play hogan most. Victoria Cross medals to meet this new, though disrespectful, demand ) about during playdate... That the project was stupid this rather complicated situation undoubtedly makes it harder to empathize, particularly it... Heather Abbey did a double-take when she first came across photos on Pinterest of miniature teepees decorating children s. On it if we really appreciate these cultures, we went over symbols that were important the! Teepee after seeing them in other shops say no and share their culture ever harmless not best... It 's probably not the best idea own uphill struggle, is scheduled be.