Headdresses are sacred, earned and worn for ceremony, explains a First Nations member.
Evenko says its consultations with Tamara Ainscow, a camera editor with APTN, and the addition of A Tribe Called Red to the lineup at Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, led it to ban the headdresses at Osheaga, Heavy Montreal Festival and Île Soniq festival “out of respect for First Nations people and culture.”
Osheaga, which will run from July 31 to Aug. 3, announced the decision in a statement on Facebook.
“The First Nations headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities, and to respect and honour their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory,” the post read.
Similar statements were also posted to Facebook by Heavy Montreal (Aug. 7 to 9) and Île Soniq (Aug. 14 and 15).
“To be honest, we did not see a tremendous amount of people wearing it at our festivals in the past years but some people did,” said,Evenko spokeswoman Caroline Audet.
A Tribe Called Red, based in Ottawa, began to ask fans in 2013 to stop wearing headdresses to their shows.
“I was taught that headdresses are sacred, earned and worn for ceremony,” tweeted Winnipeg resident Dene Sinclair, a member of the Anishinaabe First Nations, after a woman was photographed wearing an indigenous headdress at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
“There’s lots of ways you can honour a culture without taking a sacred object of theirs,” Sinclair told the Star.
If someone’s interested in fashion and First Nations, they can always buy something from numerous indigenous designers, including Christi Belcourt, who designed the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games medals, she said.
Wearing earrings or mukluks made by indigenous people is also not offensive, she said.
Glastonbury, the large British festival, banned the sale of native American-style headdress on its grounds before its 2015 festival in late June.
B.C.’s Bass Coast Festival banned the headdress in 2014. Its website says: “We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent esthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and esthetic significance cannot be separated.
“Bass Coast Festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people. We have consulted with aboriginal people in British Columbia on this issue and we feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject.”
The WayHome Music and Arts, running in Barrie from July 24 to 26, has also banned headdresses, said spokesman Shannon McNevan.
Artists and festival-goers wearing headdresses as fashion accessories has sparked some strong reactions on social media.
Hundreds of people attending Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., in April were criticized for wearing the headdress. The festival, which draws tens of thousands each year, would not say whether the headdresses will be banned in future.
French DJ David Guetta has been called racist on social media after releasing a music video featuring women wearing native headdresses and carrying totem poles to promote an event at Pacha nightclub in Ibiza.
Ontario resident Kate Suppa commented on the video on Pacha’s Facebook page: “It’s like they sat down and made a checklist of how to be super racist. It’s beyond shameful and bounds full speed into embarrassing.”
In 2014, rapper Pharrell wore a native headdress on the cover of Elle magazine and then apologized, saying, “I respect and honour every kind of race, background and culture. I am genuinely sorry.”
Victoria’s Secret apologized in 2012 after model Karlie Kloss wore a floor-length headdress, along with leopard-print underwear and high heels.
Kloss apologized on Twitter, saying she felt “deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone.”
In 2011, Urban Outfitters Inc. was heavily criticized for Navajo-branded clothing and fashion accessories, which included underwear and a flask for liquor.
Back in 2004, the band Outkast sparked a firestorm of protests after wearing headdresses onstage at the Grammy Awards.
By: Peter Edwards Star Reporter, David Bateman Staff Reporter, Published on Tue Jul 14 2015