GT, I need some input, specifically from our minority folks, particularly those who are of Native ancestry.
We have a local place that’s geared towards yoga and selling juices and crystals, as well as a huge statue of Ganesh, which, according to the white male owner, is “a very important deity in India.” The owner never once mentions Hinduism. Needless to say, there is quite a bit of appropriation of eastern culture.
This weekend, this business finished building a Kiva and had a huge dedication to it. There were drum circles and chanting and all that. HOWEVER. From what I saw/read, the chanting, drumming, etc., was NOT done by any Natives. The white owner lead the drum circle and chanting. He’s taking the credit.
I’m deeply bothered by the idea that this guy built a kiva in order to draw more attention and money to his business.
Is this cultural appropriation? I’m THISCLOSE to writing a firmly worded letter to the editor about why this is problematic, but I guess I’d like some outside input as to whether or not I’m overreacting.
For the record, I’m a white woman, so I don’t want to overstep by protesting something that belongs to a culture that I’m not a part of, or take away from Native voices. So if I’m out of line for wanting to speak up because it detracts from Native voices, please say so. It’s just that we don’t have many Natives here, and from what I’ve read and heard ‘round town, no one really seems to be saying that this is wrong. I think it is, though, because it’s directly stealing a religious and political building of Native culture (plus, it’s for the financial and ego benefit of a white guy).
Cultural appropriation? Yes/no?
ETA: I apologize in advance if I don’t respond to comments. My notifications have been disappearing in the top bar for the last week and a half, so I don’t get them as promptly as I am used to and am having to use some weird means to access them.