‘Cultural Appropriation Is A One-Way Street’

Here are two more examples of so-called ‘cultural appropriation’:
P.S. The answer to the following question is ‘EVERYONE’, and Aboriginals — who have culturally appropriated Western culture – need to get used to it…

“Questions about who has the right to make money from the cultural and artistic traditions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada.”

“Jennifer Tosoff grew up admiring Sue Coleman’s transfixing landscapes rendered with an undeniable Northwest Coast ‘First Nations’ {‘Aboriginal’} style.

“I loved it and thought it was brilliant. I automatically assumed she was a coastal ‘Indigenous’ {sic, she means ‘Aboriginal’} person”,

said Tosoff, a non-‘Indigenous’ artist whose grandmother collected ‘Indigenous’ artwork, mainly gifts from the artists themselves. When she found out Coleman was not ‘Indigenous’, Tosoff says she felt duped {?}.

“For somebody who is not from an ‘Indigenous’ community to be taking that space {?}, it felt disappointing to me”,
{The market – and Art — are not based on Race…}

Tosoff said from her home in Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

“Coleman moved to Canada from England in 1967. In the ’80s she began studying various B.C. ‘First Nations’ styles of art work.

“I didn’t understand Native artwork at all, and when I was at a show beside a Native carver and asked if I could learn he said ‘no’, because ‘I wouldn’t understand’,”
Coleman said.

“I guess the British sense of indignity in me said, ‘Well, of course I can’t if no one will teach me’, so I got the idea to become a translator”,

said the artist, who lives in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island.

‘I knew it had something of a marketable value’
“Out of stubbornness, Coleman says, she went home and drew a seal, an eagle and a whale in a style reminiscent of Northwest Coast ‘First Nations’ art. She went to the library archives and began to research what she calls “Native legends” and artwork. She also says she was given artistic advice by now deceased Haida artist Bill Reid and Nuu-chah-nulth artist Tim Paul.

“I knew there was nothing like this and I knew it had something of a marketable value”,

she said. Today, Coleman’s originals, such as her tryptic “Four Totems”, can sell for $29,000.00 for the set

Coleman said she has not heard concerns about her art from ‘Indigenous’ communities. She said ‘Indigenous’ people have shared with her throughout her career that they appreciated her artwork and found it inspiring.

“But {some} ‘Indigenous’ artists and activists worry that artists like Coleman are missing the mark.

There is a sophisticated symbolism — our history, our culture and even our laws — are codified in our art, so if you don’t understand it, you can do a lot of damage“, {? Examples?}

said Shain Jackson, a Coast Salish artist, business owner and the founder of the “Authentic ‘Indigenous’ {sic, he should use the proper term: ‘Aboriginal’} Branding” program.

Shain Jackson, founder of the ‘Authentic ‘Indigenous’ Branding’ program, says cultural appropriation is at a crisis in British Columbia. (Angela Sterritt)

“Jackson says ‘cultural appropriation’ and knock-offs of ‘Indigenous’ artwork are at a “crisis“, with traditional art being turned into medals, comforter sets and even a totem pole used to represent a beer company.

“Coleman makes clear that her art is not copying anyone’s specific work, but said she adapts and blends a number of ‘Indigenous’ styles from B.C. to create her own original style.

“Still, Jackson said that leaves ‘less room’ for the work of ‘Indigenous’ artists.

“Our No.1 revenue source of private direct revenue into our communities is our arts and handcrafts”,
Jackson said.

“You think about folks like Sue — you know they are not evil, but the operational reality is that they are taking resources out of communities {?}. The art market is only so big and we are the most vulnerable demographic, so it kind of stings a bit”,
he said.

‘Laws to ‘protect’ ‘Indigenous’ art lack teeth’
“Lou-Ann Neel, a ‘Kwakwaka’wakw’ artist and ‘arts activist’, says the problem with non-‘Indigenous’ artists and companies stealing or copying ‘Indigenous’ art is getting worse and says there is little institutional support.

“All we have is the “Canadian Copyright Act” and the “Status of the Artist Act”. Both are clear about artists needing to be paid fair remunerations, and the ‘Copyright Act’ says you can’t just steal someone’s designs, but neither have teeth”, 

Neel said. Earlier this month, Neel sent a letter to the B.C. provincial government to try to persuade it to enact laws to protect ‘Indigenous’ artists.

“As it stands now, ‘Indigenous’ artists who see someone ripping off their art without permission need to hire a lawyer, or take to social media to try to shame the company or artist into ceasing to use their art.
{But that’s true for every artist!}

“And if someone is ‘appropriating’ or blending ‘cultural styles’ {You mean like Aboriginals using modern paint and tools?} — but not directly copying an individual work — experts say existing intellectual property laws are difficult to apply at all {As it should be…}.

‘Canucks’ mascot drumming gets the green light’
“Xwalacktun is a Squamish and Namgis artist who has designed five of the NHL ‘Vancouver Canucks’ official mascot “Fin’s” drums.

“Fin called me up and commissioned me to do these drums”, 

he laughed. Xwalacktun says ‘Fin’ drumming gets a green light not just because of the sacrament of hockey but also because he reached out to the local ‘Indigenous’ community.

“Neal says part of the reason why she does not have a problem with ‘Fin’ drumming is because the drums were designed by an ‘Indigenous’ artist and because the mascot is not singing any traditional songs.

“For Xwalacktun, a non-‘Indigenous’ person can make ‘Indigenous’ art, but they need prior and informed consent from, and a connection with, the ‘Indigenous’ community that inspired them.”

–‘Non-Indigenous B.C. artist defends work despite calls for authenticity’,
Angela Sterritt, CBC News, Oct. 25, 2017

Designer Chloë Angus. (Doug Kerr-CBC)

“When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited B.C. in 2016, they were presented with gifts of wraps, blankets and bowties adorned with the distinctive, eye-catching art of the coastal ‘First Nations’ {‘Aboriginal communities’}.

“Each piece was created by Vancouver designer Chloë Angus, who was also responsible for every outfit then-premier Christy Clark wore during the royal visit. Angus is one of the most prominent designers in B.C.’s ‘Indigenous’ {sic, CBC means ‘Aboriginal’} apparel world, with clothing sold on ‘BC Ferries’ and in major museums and art galleries across the country. She’s frequently featured in magazine pieces highlighting ‘Indigenous’-owned fashion houses, has applied for at least one {discriminatory} grant meant to support ‘Indigenous’ artists, and advertises her company as co-owned with her Métis {mixed race} husband.

“But Angus is not ‘Indigenous’ {neither is anyone else in Canada}, and corporate records show she alone owns her company, ‘Chloë Angus Design’, of which she has been sole proprietor since its founding in 2004.

“A ‘community’ of B.C.-based ‘Indigenous’ clothing designers say they’re fed up with Angus misrepresenting her company, and they’re accusing her of profiting from ‘watering down’ their cultures to satisfy the “average white lady” that Angus has said is her target audience.

“Their concerns raise questions about who has the right to make money from the cultural and artistic traditions of ‘First Nations’, Métis and Inuit communities in Canada. The prints Angus uses on her apparel are licensed from ‘Indigenous’ artists, two of whom told ‘CBC News’ they have no problem with what she’s doing.

“But Haida designer Dorothy Grant, who has been incorporating Haida art into her fashion for more than three decades, has a different perspective.

“There’s a long history of abuse, of theft of everything that belongs to Indigenous people, and this is another format of that”,
she told ‘CBC News’.

“Angus is far from the only non-‘Indigenous’ businessperson to make a living from ‘Indigenous’ art, but a number of designers who spoke with ‘CBC News’ say her prominence {success} in the fashion industry has galvanized them.

“The outrage that we’re feeling at how far and how extreme she’s stepped into ‘our realm’, it definitely united us”,

said Haida and Cree designer Erin Brillon of ‘Totem Design House’.

“In an interview, Angus acknowledged she has faced a lot of criticism in recent months, but says her goal with the ‘Indigenous’-inspired “Spirit Collection” has always been to create better understanding between non-’Indigenous’ Canadians and their ‘Indigenous’ neighbours.

“It is a very racially motivated time”,
{‘Many Aboriginals are overtly and publicly racist’…}
she said of the criticism.
“I have been an ally in wanting to support ‘Indigenous’ people and ‘Indigenous’ businesses since I was a young person.”

“In a follow-up email, Angus charged that the
negative campaign against me personally stems from misinformation and fear“. {And jealousy…}

“Angus’s designs are created in collaboration with ‘Indigenous’ artists, who license their work in exchange for royalties. Two of the ‘Indigenous’ artists who’ve collaborated with her, Corrine Hunt and Steve Smith, say they have no complaints about the process. Hunt described Angus as a “gem” in an interview with ‘CBC News’, and said she’s seen no evidence of cultural appropriation.

“But other designers argue Angus’s licensing arrangement isn’t good enough.

“I know that from a capitalistic standpoint, when you license designs from a person, it’s a business agreement and that’s all above board. But where we look at it, it’s not just about business, it’s about who we are as a people”,
Brillon said.
{That’s YOUR problem!}

“Sisters Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good, of ‘Ay Lelum–The Good House of Design’, said they’re careful to make sure their work honours ‘ancient laws’ protecting the arts and culture of their family, traditions that need to be protected for future generations. They feel that buying licensed ‘Indigenous’ art from non-‘Indigenous’ designers is not the same as supporting authentic ‘Indigenous’ works.

“As a Coast Salish design house, we have been turned down by gift shop buyers in ‘our own territory’ because their floor space was allocated to licensed products, and this needs to change”,
the Goods said in a written statement.
“We urge the consumer to identify and support ‘authentic’ ‘Indigenous’ makers and businesses first, especially when operating in their {so-called} ‘unceded territories’.”

“Creating public awareness of culturally-conscious fashion that respects community traditions and supports ‘Indigenous’ entrepreneurs is one of the main goals of the ‘Indigenous’ designers and artists interviewed for this story.
{Of course, because then THEY profit. This is all about money, NOT culture…}

“They also want Angus to be fully transparent about her company — or better yet, to step aside and stop using ‘Indigenous’ motifs in her work.

“I think we have to draw the line somewhere”,
{Why? You take freely from Western culture!}

said Kwaguilth and Squamish designer Himikalas, who has created clothing and jewelry for the last 35 years as ‘Pam Baker’.

“Angus recently attracted social media fury when the ethical and sustainable fashion website ‘Attire Media’ included her in a list of “8 sustainable Indigenous-owned brands“. ‘Attire’ removed Angus from the list after outcry from commenters, but her name remains on similar lists from publications like ‘Fashion’ magazine, ‘The Kit’ and ‘Refinery29’.

“Angus does not pretend to be ‘Indigenous’, describing herself instead as an ally. But the confusion over ownership of her company is understandable. Until very recently, the ‘Chloë Angus Design’ website described the company as “held jointly” by Angus and her Métis husband, executive Gabe Eyers. Public documents available through B.C. Registry Services show Angus’s husband has no ownership in the business.

“Shortly after ‘CBC News’ reached out to Angus to request an interview for this story, her company’s site was updated to say the company is the couple’s “business baby“. It is still described as “over 50% Métis owned” on Angus’s ‘Google’ business profile. Angus said she described the company as “held jointly” because she considers it a family business, and said that despite his lack of an ownership stake or official title with the company, her husband often pitches in with everything from loading boxes to writing budgets.

“She said the changing descriptions for her company’s ownership reflect the “growth” of the business.

“It’s also the personal growth of my husband and his own personal journey and ‘reclaiming his rightful Métis heritage’ {What nonsense…}“,
Angus said.

“But other designers take issue with Angus using her husband’s Métis heritage as an entry point for profiting from the arts and culture of the culturally distinct coastal ‘First Nations’.

“Vancouver-based Métis designer Evan Ducharme said he would never presume to use elements from another community’s artistic traditions {But you do!}. Even when he incorporates Métis themes into his work, he takes special care to make sure they’re ‘appropriate’.

“If something is going to be going up on my website, I need to have these conversations with my grandmother, with my mother, with my father, with my siblings, with my cousins, with my community”,
he said.
“These are the people that I am responsible to, and these are the people who I aim to uplift with my work.”

“Another sore spot for Angus’s critics is the fact that her company received $10,250 in funding in 2019 from the Canada Council for the Arts “Creating, Knowing and Sharing” program to travel to ‘London Fashion Week’. A spokesperson for the council confirmed the grants are meant to support Canadians who “self-define {!} as First Nations, Inuit or Métis“.
{And she ‘self-defines’ her company as ‘Metis’. Tough…}

“Though the grant was awarded to her company, ‘Chloë Angus Design’, Angus says she applied as a group collective. The program’s {racist} criteria stipulate that eligible collectives must have two or more members, more than half of whom identify as ‘Indigenous’.

“A copy of Angus’s application, which she provided to ‘CBC News’, defines her collective as Angus and seven artists with whom she has collaborated. None of the artists were included in the team she proposed for the trip to the U.K.; she writes that they have “appointed” her as their representative. Angus argues that her application wouldn’t have been approved if she didn’t meet the requirements of the program.

“That grant program is incredibly detailed and vetted, so nobody is getting through that who is not honest and transparent and doing the right thing”,
she said.

“Some of those who spoke with ‘CBC News’ for this story also point to a number of situations where they believe Angus has asked for or taken opportunities they believe should be reserved for ‘Indigenous’ designers. That includes things like keeping a booth at ‘Indigenous’ Peoples Day’ in Vancouver, and asking to be included in the 2017 ‘Vancouver ‘Indigenous’ Fashion Week’.
{Segregated events are offensive anachronisms…}

“That event’s founder, Joleen Mitton, told ‘CBC News’ she included one non-‘Indigenous’ designer who collaborates with ‘Indigenous’ artists in 2017 in the spirit of ‘reconciliation’. Mitton says she chose to reject Angus after Angus touted her connections to former premier Clark and the royals — neither of which are particularly beloved by the wider ‘Indigenous’ community.

Angus wrote in an email to ‘CBC New’s that she believes Mitton’s decision was based on “petty immaturity and personal judgment“. {!}

“The origin story that Angus often tells begins with her childhood near Jervis Inlet on the Sunshine Coast, where she felt a close connection to her neighbours in the shíshálh ‘Nation’ {a ‘self-governing’ ‘nation’ of around 2,000}. She says her goal with the ‘Spirit Collection’, which began as a collaboration with Haida artist Clarence Mills, was to share the experience with others.

“Cultural anthropologist Solen Roth interviewed Angus for her 2013 PhD thesis at UBC, and Angus explained that non-‘Indigenous’ women were her target market from the beginning.

“I started thinking about doing this contemporary line that would be … not too bold for the average ‘white’ lady to wear”,
she told Roth.
“Some of the clothing that is being made with Native designs, not a lot of ladies can pull it off. It’s often quite traditional, in heavier wool … and the images on them are very bold. And I can’t wear something like that, even though I have a huge appreciation for this.”

“That is infuriating to Kwiaahwah Jones, a curator and tattooist of Haida and Nisga’a descent who created the ‘Haida Now’ exhibit at the Museum of Vancouver.

“Haida art is so sophisticated. I consider it a form of sacred geometry that our ancestors perfected over a very long time”,
Jones said.
“That sophistication should not be dumbed down for anybody, and it should not be appropriated by people that are not Haida, and it should not be used as a platform for accommodating ‘white’ ladies.”

“For established designers like Grant, who has counted many ‘white’ women {How ‘white’ were they?} among her customers, Angus’s attitude is a personal affront. Grant said her customers are proud to wear her designs because they represent Haida culture and Canada as a whole.

“For somebody to say that they design particularly for ‘white’ people and that they’re kind of better at it, I find that very offensive and somewhat racist”,
Grant said.

“Angus stands by her 2013 quote, and denies that she has watered down the art of the Haida and other coastal ‘First Nations’ for the consumption of ‘white’ people.

“I know none of the artists that work with me in collaboration on creating the ‘Spirit Collection’ feel that their work has been watered down. In fact, more than anything, we have brought just more fashion into it”,
she said.

Signature Spirit Wraps – Chloe Angus Design – featuring artwork by Haida artist Clarence Mills

“The designers interviewed for this story said they want to see an end to non-Indigenous business people profiting from ‘Indigenous’ art.
{Then THEY are racist…}

“The bottom line is this has been going on for way too long, and we have to take hold of this and do something about it”,
said designer and gallery owner Teresa Walker.

“Lou-Ann Neel, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist and head of ‘Indigenous’ Collections and ‘Repatriation’ at the Royal B.C. Museum, said she has long argued for a form of community copyright for ‘First Nations’ art form.
{Why only for them? This is communist and racist nonsense…}

“I want the legislation to be abundantly clear that there are ‘communal rights’ that are extended into our communities”,
Neel said {No!}.

“Grant points out that Article 11 of the ‘UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, which became law in B.C. last year, says ‘Indigenous’ art forms must be protected from exploitation.
{Yet another example of how UNDRIP contradicts Canadian values and the Canadian Constitution. See links below…}

“The government has to get behind it”,
she said.
“Somebody cannot declare that they’re an ‘Indigenous’ company and not be an ‘Indigenous’ company.”

“As for Angus, she says she has no immediate plans to change the way she works, but she would be open to collaborating with the designers who have criticized her.”

–‘Indigenous designers in B.C. outraged over claims of authenticity by non-Indigenous competitor’,
Bethany Lindsay, CBC News, Sept.30, 2020
Feature Image: Sue Coleman’s ‘Spirit Of The Orca’ print from 1994. (Sue Coleman)

See also:
Segregation: The Antithesis of Art’:
“Her main inspiration is the painter Norval Morrisseau, who was Anishinabe. However, Amanda PL argues, his bright paintings, with their semi-abstracted shapes, borrowed from the European stained-glass tradition. In other words, all art is predicated on “appropriation”, which may just be a more loaded word for “influence”…”


Here We Go Again…’:
“Throughout Canada, Canadians of all backgrounds are encouraged to explore the many cultures that now make up the ‘Canadian mosaic’, and to not just celebrate their own culture but to try out other cultural traditions foreign to one’s own. Aboriginal people have, for the most part, eagerly embraced many aspects of other cultures, from clothing to music to movies to vehicles to guns to electricity to computers to… well, you get the picture. However, when it comes to others using aspects of aboriginal culture, suddenly it is called ‘cultural appropriation’ and its use meant to be restricted – meaning that ‘permission’ is required. This blatant hypocrisy – with its xenophobic and racist overtones – needs to be called out…”

Poisoning Children’s Minds’ (Hallowe’en):
“The message my daughter got was that she could not pretend — could not even imagine herself — to be a Native person. She got the message that a barrier existed between herself and the ‘Native princess’ she wanted to be — the barrier of race. And nothing could surmount that barrier. Not even a child’s imagination.”


The Flip Side’:
‘Thanks To Those Missionaries’:
“In the 1770s, Moravian missionaries sailed into Inuit communities on the coast of Labrador with freshly-written musical scores by Handel, Bach and other composers.
At the time, they couldn’t have known what an enduring role that music would play in the lives of generations of Inuit…”

Aboriginal youth are mastering a game that was first taught to their ancestors…in residential schools‘:
‘All Native Basketball Tournament tips off in Kamloops, B.C.’

More on UNDRIP:
UNDR‘I’P Unworkable’:
“Even for a government with a disproportionate aboriginal influence, implementing the foolish ‘United Nations Declaration on the Rights of {so-called} ‘Indigenous’ Peoples’ {UNDR‘I’P} is proving to be a political and economic impossibility.”


UN ‘indigenous rights’ declaration is ‘unworkable’ as law’:
“Jody Wilson-Raybould, the justice minister, spoke at the A‘FN’s general assembly in Niagara Falls Wednesday, where she dropped the bombshell that adopting the ‘United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ as Canadian law is “unworkable”…”

Balkanizing British Columbia’ (B.C./UNDRIP):
British Columbia politicians are thoughtlessly embedding Race law, two-tiered ‘rights’, and United Nations influence in all aspects of B.C. legislation:
Horgan told the chiefs his government has a lot of work ahead {!}, to adapt provincial legislation {to segregate British Columbia} to the dozens of articles of the UN declaration {Some of which are CONTRARY to the Canadian Constitution}…”

Post also at: 

One thought on “‘Cultural Appropriation Is A One-Way Street’

  1. I don’t understand why aboriginal artists complain about cultural appropriation. Is a spaghetti western cultural appropriation? An Italian director stole movie goers from an American. Would anyone care if a spaghetti western ran against an American western in theaters or for an Oscar? I’m PA dutch, so I must have some culture too. Would I care if another race started a bakery and sold shoo fly pies? Nope. I’d go there and buy one. If an artist of another race sold hex signs would I care? No. And yet they don’t understand the meaning of hex signs. It seems like those complaining are afraid of competition. The whiny little artists.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s