A Little More on Cultural Appropriation

This week’s video spoke of cultural appropriation but since it is such a nuanced issue, I wanted to expand on that a little more today.

I mentioned in the video that if you were “gifted” an item, then you can rest assured that the person who gifted you the item felt you were worthy of carrying it.

For example, imagine a non-indigenous person is gifted an eagle feather (a sacred item of the highest honour to many indigenous groups). That means that the indigenous person doing the giving saw something in the non-indigenous person, perhaps wisdom or respect, and felt the non-indigenous person was worthy to carry such an item.

But one of our equally sacred teachings is the teaching of humility. We are taught not to advertise the sacred items we carry. It is hoped that the non-indigenous person receiving the item would have been taught this, along with how to use and care for the feather. It is, after all, FOR HIS OR HER OWN USE. But the ability to teach others (other than that person’s own children or partner) was not gifted to them.

Because you see, if they were to attempt to pass on the teachings to others, the teachings would be presented through the cultural interpretation of a non-indigenous person. The result – the teaching would be changed completely, making it nothing more than a non-indigenous interpretation of an indigenous teaching.

To be gifted an item is not to be made “indigenous”. It is an honour, a special acknowledgement that should be kept between you, your immediate family, the presenter, and those who were present at the gifting, without need to advertise or boast to any other.

Keeping the sacredness of the item and the gifting to yourself proves you understand the humility teaching quite well.

I hope that makes sense.

The journey continues …

I love you!

For your information, here is the video referenced in this post.