Indigenous Art and Culture

When I posted a painting of mine(an Orca) I was asked by someone whether or not I am an Indigenous (First Nation) person. It is unclear to me what her nationality is, I did not ask.

She said she wanted to know because she has issue with people taking Indigenous images and cultural elements if they themselves are not Indigenous.

I myself have pondered this issue. I too disagree with the use of cultural images and elements such as clothing being used as fashion statements or costumes in pop culture. Case in point the traditional head-dress of Indidgenous people’s. It has been seen so many times in media being worn and used as a costume by women no less. As if this is not offensive enough often times these women are wearing next to nothing. The head-dress is a symbol of honor worn by Indigenous men. There is real meaning and intent behind the style and elements put into creating the head-dress for a very specific individual. There is honor in wearing the head-dress. It is not a whimsical fashion piece or something to be worn without cultural and traditional intent.

I found an artical about a famous artist who has been painting what looks to be traditional Haida art, and selling them for a good chuck of change. She is however, not Indigenous. There will be a lot of debate on whether or not this is acceptable or not. I for one believe it is an exploitation of Indigenous art work.

I have the link to this article here. I would love for you to read it and others like it and let me know what your thoughts are on the matter.

I want to be able to hold on to something as an Indigenous woman. I don’t want to believe that our art is a money making venture for those who are not themselves First Nation.

I would love to have conversation about this topic. I am nothing if not open to other perspectives.


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