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Canadian music festival bans Native American headdresses

Jul 25, 2014

Clueless white kids donning Native American headdress have been prominent, both on and off the stage, at music festivals over the past few years. However, it seems that opposition to this culturally insensitive trend is starting to grow. Using the headdress as some whimsical accessory has started landing celebrities in hot water with the public, as Pharrell, Wayne Coyne and Khloe Kardashian have already found out.

The Canadian dance music festival Bass Coast, which was founded in 2009 and takes place in British Columbia, is taking a pre-emptive approach to the problem and banning the headdress from their festivities altogether. In a statement posted on the festival’s Facebook page, and reported by The Guardian organizers state:

For various reasons, Bass Coast Festival is banning feathered war bonnets, or anything resembling them, onsite. Our security team will be enforcing this policy.

We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated.

Bass Coast Festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people. We have consulted with aboriginal people in British Columbia on this issue and we feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject. Their opinion is what matters to us.

The comments on the post seem overwhelmingly supportive, with the stray naysayer here and there complaining about their freedom of expression being stifled.

The ban on headdresses aligns with the outspoken rallying cry of artists like first nations DJ crew A Tribe Called Red’s Ian Campeau who has been vocal about his desire for people to stop wearing aboriginal clothing to shows, condemning the trend as”redface.”

It will be interesting to see if the other festivals follow suit or if the publicity surrounding the ban at least gets other concert goers to adopt a more finely tuned cultural sensitivity when it comes to what they pair with their cut-offs. However, that might be a tall order given how people still think it’s perfectly okay to show up at a concert in a feathered war bonnet despite years of protest and criticism from aboriginal people.

Source: The Guardian

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