Change the way Etsy does business
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Etsy currently hosts shops selling "Native American" style headdresses or war bonnets, jewelry, dream catchers and other items which are not Native made.
War bonnets are not for public consumption and are known to be sacred objects by all Native nations. They are not part of a costume.
This is in violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which says in part,
"All products must be marketed truthfully regarding the Indian heritage and tribal affiliation of the producers, so as not to mislead the consumer. It is illegal to market an art or craft item using the name of a tribe if a member, or certified Indian artisan, of that tribe did not actually create the art or craft item.
For example, products sold using a sign claiming "Indian Jewelry" would be a violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act if the jewelry was produced by someone other than a member, or certified Indian artisan, of an Indian tribe. Products advertised as "Hopi Jewelry" would be in violation of the Act if they were produced by someone who is not a member, or certified Indian artisan, of the Hopi tribe."
The fact that individuals are reproducing sacred objects, specifically war bonnets, which are not costumes and as is custom are earned by an individual, has been brought to the attention of each shop owner, yet they continue to ignore our requests and thus profit from the Native American culture. These acts are not a tribute. They are hurtful and damaging on a number of levels.
Native Americans are consistently used as mascots and props instead of being respected as whole human beings.
The more we allow this behavior to continue the further the diminution of an entire race of people who struggle still to be considered vital and worthy.
Moreover, these items are photographed with women (typically not recipients of headdresses) scantily clad, some in lingerie, while wearing the war bonnets, further disrespecting Native Americans. The sexualizing of Native American women further perpetuates stereotypes which only leads to the epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.
We look forward to an open and honest dialog to bring awareness and sensitivity to this issue.
It is our hope that Etsy will consider changing their policies regarding cultural appropriation by reaching out to leaders in the Native American community so this will be avoided in the future.
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