🔥🔥🔥 Cultural Appropriation Of Indigenous Culture

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Cultural Appropriation Of Indigenous Culture



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The Art of Indigenous Appropriation

Black writers and artists from the Harlem Renaissance voiced their concerns about the distortion of African cultures in some modernist artworks, and wrote at length about the demeaning caricatures of black identity in minstrel shows. This is important to bear in mind. Our modern understanding of cultural appropriation is highly individualised. But the way in which the idea was first used was to describe a relationship of dominance and exploitation between a global ruling class and a globally subjugated one. The idea that cultural appropriation is primarily a form of erasure — a kind of emotional violence in which people are rendered invisible — came along later. And this is the sticky point. The point of commonality — both Inuit and Cree being Canadian indigenous people — positions a shared history of dispossession by a white settler colony as erasing cultural and artistic distinctions.

The throat-singing technique in question was banned by Christian missionaries, and discouraged by colonial governments. Yet I find it strange that a recognition of the pain caused by colonialism is being projected on to fellow indigenous artists. Certain ethnic, religious, racial or indigenous groups were deliberately privileged over others in order to create a sense of investment in upholding the power structure.

Today, arguments rage about non-African Americans participating in and making money from hip-hop culture , or whether black people should wear south Asian head ornaments. But maybe our own frustration at the erasure of difference risks erasing certain crucial differences in itself. Not all cultural borrowing is a form of social violence: some of it is just cringe.

But we do need to become a lot more discerning about how we use the idea in discussing interpersonal dynamics. Not everyone who participates in a misguided attempt at cultural borrowing is a coloniser in disguise. Some people are just sad try-hards. Opinion Race. Once again, this led to Nike cancelling the launch of the sports shoes. In truth, much traditional clothing is not simply functional or ornamental but is infused with meaning and is part of the identity of the Indigenous communities that use it.

That is why copying designs without consideration for their underlying cultural significance can erode the identity of a whole community. Further, cultural appropriation often occurs as the backwash of colonization, and contributes to widening existing divisions and perpetuating patterns of historic dispossession and oppression. In addition, for many Indigenous peoples and local communities, making traditional clothes is a source of income; as such, cultural appropriation can wield a significant economic blow, undercutting the ability of communities to earn a living by displacing the sale of authentic products.

After protest, KTZ removed the sweater from sale and apologized for the unintended offense, but did not offer any monetary compensation to the Inuit community that had developed the traditional parka design. Cultural appropriation sparks passionate debate because it arises in a tangle of multifarious policy and legal issues. To start, not all forms of cultural borrowing are undesirable. In multicultural societies, it is important to safeguard the principle of freedom of expression and not to hinder innocuous cultural exchanges and interactions.

Therefore, curbing cultural appropriation in fashion does not amount to a total and un-nuanced restriction on all uses of traditional cultural expressions. To add to the complexity, cultural appropriation is not universally defined by law and hovers in a gray zone where permissible inspiration slips into harmful appropriation. Until that point, a great deal needs to be done to raise awareness among fashion designers and the general public to demystify the concept and to alert them to the harm that cultural appropriation can cause. Cultural appropriation is undoubtedly related to the fact that traditional cultural expressions maintain a jarring relationship with the international IP system.

In the main, existing IP laws exclude traditional cultural expressions from protection and relegate them to the public domain , making them vulnerable to appropriation and undermining the customary laws and rules that regulate access to and use of them in a customary context. Putting an end to cultural appropriation in fashion therefore requires a thorough examination of how IP law can be improved to better respond to the needs of the holders of traditional cultural expressions in terms of how their culture is represented by fashion designers. Against the backdrop of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 31 , the international IP landscape could be reshaped to afford Indigenous peoples the legal means to exercise effective control over their traditional cultural expressions.

Working within the present legal framework, fashion designers can engage with other cultures and use traditional cultural expressions without falling into the cultural appropriation trap by following four principles:. Examples of designers actively collaborating with holders of traditional cultural expressions are numerous. The collection honored the creativity and skill of African creators of wax print fabrics made by Uniwax, a company based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, one of the few fabric manufacturers still using traditional methods. The story of wax fabric is in itself a cultural voyage: while it is nowadays associated with and is emblematic of Africa, its origins are found in Indonesian batik brought to Africa many centuries ago by Dutch merchants.

Another illustration of such a dialogue between cultures is that of Canadian winter-clothing manufacturer Canada Goose. The collection features the designs of one-of-a-kind traditional parkas from fourteen Inuit seamstresses from nine communities across the four Inuit regions — Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavut, and Nunavik.

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