Arts & Entertainment | Opinion

Karlene Hunter: Cultural appropriation is another form of racism

A look from the fall winter 2015 fashion line of Dsquared. Photo from Instagram

Karlene Hunter, the CEO of Native American Natural Foods, discusses cultural appropriation in the fashion industry:
There has been a lot of media lately regarding cultural insensitivity and/or ignorance at the Oscars and New York City’s Fashion Week. There's always media attention when celebrities are involved. But this is nothing new to the Native community regarding its language, its art, its traditions and now, its products.

Even here at Native American Natural Foods, we are not immune to this veiled form of racism. We see it. We know it. And we are not going to stay silent.

These copycats create fashion designs stolen directly from Native artists. They name and create logos for their products using Native spiritual icons. They create pretend "tribes," invoking Native spirituality where none exists. These "products," designed only to cash in at the expense of Native creativity, ignore the resources they are siphoning away from people who are suffering.

These practices totally disrespect Native American people and tribes. This is a discreet form of racism and a not-so-discreet form of exploitation.

Get the Story:
Karlene Hunter: Fashion Exploiting Native Wear Is Racist (Indian Country Today 3/5)

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