Canada | Opinion

Chelsea Vowel: The do's and don'ts of Native appropriation

"Cultural appropriation is a seriously hot-button topic. It ranges from the aggressively entitled stance of, “I can do whatever I want!” to the perpetually angry approach of “everything is cultural appropriation!”. Of course, the former is a much larger portion of the debate, and the latter is almost always a huge straw-man argument that few people actually make, but serves to bolster the idea that anyone who takes issue with cultural appropriation is a hysterical hater. That might not be clear when you first start looking into the issue, however.

I bring this topic up precisely because it does scare and confuse and inflame. Except I want to avoid all that negative stuff as best I can. I won’t be completely successful, but that is because there are no set-in-stone rules here. There is no ‘common’ sense, because our viewpoints on the subject can and will diverge radically and we lack a common understanding.

It shouldn’t need stating that I am not presenting myself as an authority on this, but I’ve found that I do need to include this disclaimer. Much like in the post on what to call us, I present you with my thoughts on the matter, recognising that there are legitimate arguments for and against my various positions. In short, nitôtêmitik, this issue isn’t easy for anyone. Not me, not you. If easy answers is what you seek, I shall leave you disappointed. Promise."

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Chelsea Vowel: The do’s, don’ts, maybes, and I-don’t-knows of cultural appropriation. (âpihtawikosisân 1/30)

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