Appreciate, Not Appropriate

“Sometimes the appropriation of art has a religious dimension. This is so when appropriated items have ritual or spiritual significance in their original cultural context. Perhaps most importantly, some appropriation of art has to be understood against the background of the appropriation of land. The appropriation of land from indigenous peoples has resulted in their oppression. Appropriation will tend to be morally suspect when it occurs in the context of unequal power caused by the appropriation of land.”-Young, James. “What is Cultural Appropriation” in Cultural Appropriation and the Arts (3)

Cultural appropriation is impossible to combat, because, as stated in the readings, everyone’s borrowing from someone. Nothing’s new, that’s right. But just because this is true, this doesn’t give people the right to appropriate some of the most sensitive items, sacred, or most revered items from a culture. These feathered warbonnets (or headdresses) used to be worn in battle but are now mostly used in ceremonies. This is a scared item isn’t worn by all Native American tribes, but for the ones who do wear them, they signify bravery and bestow the utmost respect on the one wielding it. How could something so sacred be worn with such disregard at parties, raves, and for Halloween?

-Edgar Nava


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