15.30-16:30: Facing Cultural Appropriation

In these modern times, with international tourism and media connecting people throughout the world, there is now a greater opportunity for cultural misunderstanding and misrepresentation, and hence, the concern about misappropriation and cultural preservation of indigenous cultures.

 There is much confusion when it comes to the meaning of cultural appropriation.

Referring to the trend of the past twenty-five years to market a distorted brand of "Indian spiritual wisdom" to White middle class consumers, Vine Deloria, Jr., a respected American Indian scholar, suggests that cultural appropriation is rooted in a deeper, albeit unconscious, motive:


V., ed., (1997) Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation.

Young, James O. 1994. “The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation.” 30:67–77.

We must be cautious with those who have cynical and twisted irony,
"choose to appropriate even the very weapons of our liberation."8 This
is the very challenge that First Nations face, if cultures do not
acknowledge each other then each will be left to "wage wars in
isolation (and) we will all lose".8

Our Canadian society is one of a complex cultural make-up, with this
comes all sorts of wonderful spiritual enrichments within the country.


Beg, borrow or steal: The politics of cultural appropriation

To say that one should not learn from or borrow from
another culture is to deny being human, "interaction is inevitable,
influences must occur".8 Kwane Dawes states that it is our
responsibility to define what cultural appropriation means to each of
us.

Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation

What Canadian First Nation's
are fighting for is the "chance to be able to determine how (their)
stories are going to be told, and a chance to ensure that (their)
values and culture are respected by those who seek to describe them."8
Many Native stories and teachings are passed down to generations
orally; this is an example of when the true image of the culture shown
can be ensured and determine the outcome by elders so that the true
culture is revealed and cultural appropriation does not become a
problem.

Borrowed power essays in cultural appropriation : …

The film represents a wide range of voices from several native communities, and speaks to issues of cultural appropriation with humor, righteous anger, and thoughtful insight.