A Canadian Music Festival Has Banned People From Wearing Native American Headdresses

“We respect the dignity of aboriginal people.”

1. The Bass Coast Project, a Canadian music festival, has banned attendees from wearing war bonnets and Native American headdresses.

Vanessa Hudgens was criticized for wearing a Native American headdress at Coachella 2014.

2. Organizers said that the festival takes place on indigenous land and “we respect the dignity of aboriginal people.”

3. Most commenters on the festival’s Facebook page supported its policy.

“It’s a small gesture with a big message. Thanks for being the first as far as I know to take a step towards teaching others what respect means. Good on you Bass Coast. And to all of you whining about the “right to express yourself”, that right come waaaayyyy down the list from ‘right to have your heritage respected’.”

“a lot of people don’t question the ethics involved in the harvest of such feathers and its never really sat well with me, thank you Bass Coast. take it one step further to include earrings with feathers as well.”

“Wearing a feather war bonnet you didn’t earn is like wearing a metal of honor you didn’t earn, in your culture. A White youth doing drugs in a feather war bonnet is as disrespectful as let’s say a Nazi wearing a yamaka or a Jewish rabbis holy implements while saying Hail Hitler.”

4. War bonnets and Native American headdresses have become increasingly popular at music festivals like Coachella, raising the issue of appropriating cultural and sacred items for fashion.

Mark Davis / Getty Images

Charley Gallay / Getty Images


A Canadian First Nations DJ crew, A Tribe Called Red, has been pleading with its white fans to stop wearing “redface.” In an interview with the Huffington Post last year, DJ Ian Campeau said, “We’re in the middle of our civil rights movement right now, today. So hopefully, in a couple decades, ‘redface’ and terms like ‘Redskin’ and ‘Indian’ will go [the] way of ‘blackface,’ and terms like ‘nigger’ and become tabooed in North American society.”

5. Celebrities including Pharrell, Khloe Kardashian, and Harry Styles have come under fire for wearing Native American headdresses.


In an essay from the website Native Appropriations, blogger Adrienne K, said: “‘Playing Indian’ has a long history in the United States, all the way back to those original tea partiers in Boston, and in no way is it better than minstral shows or dressing up in blackface. You are pretending to be a race that you are not, and are drawing upon stereotypes to do so.”

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