I just don’t feel like I can let this go. I don’t feel like I should let this go.
Over the weekend, I took a little jaunt into Claire’s (I may be 26, but I like commercial cuteness from time to time). Okay, okay, every summer in the “bohemian collections,” I expect to see turquoise and silver jewelry, some little arrowheads and “Southwest” patterns, lots ‘n’ lots of leather and fringe, and all the feathers. It’s nothing new.
But Claire’s “Hipster Hippie” collection this year set my gut hurting. First I found this:
(The Thunderbird is an important entity/symbol. To wear it is to ask for a connection to it.)
Then I this:
(This is sold as a leather pouch/pendant necklace—it’s a medicine bag. Which is a very powerful kind of item, and personally sacred to the people who utilize them. And yes, there are people who still use them. Every day.)
I wish I had been swift enough to remember my camera phone, because after that? I found a plastic tiara like headband with a crown of feathers like a war bonnet (I may go back today and take a picture). A war bonnet princess crown for 12 year old Suburban white girls. I’m trying to find words for the fury and the pain. This kind of appropriation is angering and hurtful—and more so to many others than it is to me and mine. Not only are these things being mass manufactured by non-Natives and sold to profit the often white owned system, they are not even being used under any guise of being Native “inspired” (which in a way is fine, because that can be such an insult when used for gaudy, primitivist crafting that is shoddy and soulless). No, these pieces are for hippies, taken from the tribe of Hipster. What a proud nation they make in their indie coffee houses, with their “ironic” racism and “connecting with the Earth” stealing a heritage from the already silenced in their sweatshop made clothes.
For this to stop, people have to say something. It needs to be known this is not “fashion fun” and this is not okay. It needs to be known this is racist and appropriative and is worsening the lot of the people it affects. And those may not be so far away as Claire’s thinks, nor their allies. Here is the information for Claire’s offices: http://www.clairestores.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=68915&p=irol-contact
Here is their Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/claires
And their Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/clairesstores
If you are so moved, please speak up. Thank you.