The War on Warbonnets.

While scrolling through my Instagram out of boredom, I noticed a local boutique wanting to find a blogger to promote their clothing. Instantly, I thought about reaching out, and just as quickly as I reached excitement, I was reminded that it might feel a tad bit like I was selling my soul. Why? Because the type of clothing they sell. This summer I got the idea that I would walk around Dillard’s, and take photos of any clothing that had Native American designs or inspiration. I got tired after I hit about thirty; that’s a problem. You’re using Thunderbird’s, “Aztec prints” which are really symbols used on our regalia, and after a while you realize you can’t fight everything. But there is one line in fashion that stores, hipsters, and others are continuously crossing…Warbonnets.

warbonnet“Whats that?” It’s that “chief headdress” on your shirt, in your picture, and what cheap replica you’re wearing on your head during a festival. Lets back up a bit, and discuss the exact cause and history on this very controversial, yet continuously ignored topic.

You see, a genocide happened right here in America. You flip open your history textbooks and they present numerous pages on what Hitler did, and to us that’s the only one we really remember. They skim over what they did to the people who were here because they know they’re guilty. I have little to no memory of ever discussing Native Americans in history class. This government was built upon genocide, I mean seriously, they put their effin’ faces on the sacred Black Hills that they stole, and wanted to sell back to us. Um, yea. Mount Rushmore? No. We really did try to get rid of anything in this country that wasn’t white. Don’t get offended if you’re white, you can’t help it, it’s just the facts.You can try to deny that all you want to, but the blood this country tried to build itself on has forever stained the ways of people now; and it’s not all great. Why is Native Culture so small? Because in the simplest terms, it was wiped the heck out.

woundedkneeWhy yes, they are standing over dead Natives.

So after this ignored American Holocaust against Indigenous people, a majority of American people who refuse to learn the culture are all about wearing it? Natives have been dehumanized so much. You take what we wore as spiritual clothing, and turned it into a successful yet cheap design for your boutique? You took a very sacred headdress, one many were denied to wear, and made it a costume? It’s not cool, its not nice, and it shows how much you know; nothing. I hear the people say, “I don’t mean it that way, I just thought it looked cool.” I think warbonnets are beautiful too, but I’m still not allowed to wear one. Our Native ancestors were punished for wearing them…but you get to? Nah. See, those headdresses were earned, just like certain military metals are earned; I don’t just get to wear one because they look cool.

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What can you do to help? First things first; stop supporting it. Yes, some of those shirts, and jewelry pieces are super “cute”, but don’t give in to culture appropriation. Second; do your research. Watch a documentary, get online, watch a Pow Wow video and see this culture for yourself. Maybe then when you see that these “Indians” are real, and not a fashion statement, you will gain an understanding. Third; make it known. Put it on Instagram, comment why it’s not cool, share your knowledge. You don’t have to be rude, but you do have to be brave. Lastly, if you love turquoise, moccasins, or beaded jewelry then find a Native Artist and support them. They are the real deal honey, and your every dollar counts.

Bottom line; this culture is not a trend. It’s very real, and I’m tired of fake turquoise, and crazy fake Warbonnets that have nothing to do with war, but only bad fashion. Rise up, and speak out.

Check out the New and first contest in a loooong time under the contest tab!

-haley.

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