Target: M. Jacques Aubé, Osheaga General Manager and Organizer
Goal: Praise music festival for banning the offensive trend of wearing of Native American headdresses.
The widely popular, yet highly offensive, trend of wearing Native American headdresses to concerts has just been banned by a high-profile Canadian Music Festival. The festival, called Osheaga, takes place in Montreal and annually showcases some of the biggest names in the “indie” music scene. This ban will only combat this one specific instance of cultural appropriation, but it is a wonderful step in the right direction that will hopefully kindle a greater awareness for the all-too-common practice of stealing the cultures of others.
Thanks to the onset of globalization cultural appropriation is one of the most insidious issues facing the world today. Generally, it is seen as a member, or group of members, from a dominant culture taking some part of a minority culture out of its intended context and using it in an offensive way. A perfect example of this appropriation comes from early Jazz music. White performers “borrowed” parts of Black culture in the form of their music, popularized it with a larger community, namely other white people, and made obscene amounts of money from it.
Another example is the wearing of Native American headdresses. The issue is that the headdress is a highly ceremonial object that is not meant to be worn for fashion, but rather to show leadership and command. Meaning, when members of other cultures wear them to music festivals as a fashion accessory, it is highly offensive. Many are arguing that not being allowed to wear them is some form of discrimination, but that’s why appropriation is so insidious: members of the dominant culture do not understand how offensive they’re being, thus they often feel persecuted.
Thankfully, none of this will be a problem at Osheaga, but cultural appropriation is a growing trend globally that must be stopped. While the world is moving towards a more global culture, it is important to protect minority cultures from exploitation by the masses. Please sign here to commend Osheaga for doing their part to put an end to this despicable practice.
Dear M. Aubé,
I am writing to express my sincerest gratitude to you for banning the wearing of Native American headdresses at your festival. I understand that it has become increasingly popular in the festival scene lately and I thank you for standing against it.
As you well know, since the onset of globalization, cultural appropriation has been running rampant. Dominant cultures have been cherry-picking parts of other cultures that they find edgy or interesting, and copying them wholesale, sometimes for alarming profits. Your decision to ban the headdresses will hopefully go a long way towards not only preventing offensive displays, but to spreading awareness about appropriation.
Thank you for taking a hard stand against something that is doing real harm to minority cultures when others would not and please continue to spread your message of cultural respect for years to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vinch