The Cultural Appropriation of American Indian Images in Advertising
Using Native Americans in ads has often implied negative views of the group by the dominant American culture. Native Americans have been under pressure to dilute their own cultures and take on mainstream society since Europeans first arrived to North America. Americans have both been curious about Native cultures, so much so that they often bought handmade items from Natives in the 20th century, and blatantly racist as we see the in the advertisements.
“I suppose I should be ashamed to say that I take the Western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.” – Teddy Roosevelt, 1886
Biron, Gerry. 2016. “The Cultural Appropriation of American Indian Images in Advertising.” Whispering Wind 44(3):20.
Earthen Spirituality or Cultural Genocide?: Radical Environmentalism’s Appropriation of Native American Spirituality
European intellectuals have taken the knowledge of Native peoples and incorporate it into their own thinking, typically without credit to the Natives. Most Indians would prefer that non-Indians explore their own cultures and heritage as a “spiritual resource” than taking or borrowing for the Native Indian traditions. Some believe that the taking of Native Americans traditions and culturally appropriating them is simply another example of Euro-American thievery.
Native American activist Adrienne Keene to speak on racism, cultural appropriation
“When items from Native American cultures are used by non-native pop-culture their meanings become erased and disrespected…its original power and sacred meaning have been all but lost to the non-native public.” Dr. Adrienne Keene, Assistant Professor at Brown University, activist and blogger
Valentino Didn’t Learn Anything
In 2015, Valentino reached out to Michif artist Christi Belcourt about using one of her paintings, Water Song, as a fabric for their 2016 resort line. Belcourt specifically looked into the companies history to see if they had ever been accused of cultural appropriation and what their environmental track record stating “It would go against everything I believe in to be involved with a company that was abusive to the environment and the to human beings from whom they source materials.” Two years later- Native American activist, Dr. Adrienne Keene, finds a shoe box by Valentino designed with a head dress on the top. http://nativeappropriations.com/2017/03/valentino-didnt-learn-anything.html
Designs by Valentino for their 2016 Resort Line using Water Song
Shoebox design by Valentino