Anyone who’s been watching world news lately will likely be aware of the growing protests in North Dakota, as “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years” has taken a stand against the multi-billion dollar four-state Dakota Access Pipeline project.
The 1,172 mile pipeline planned by Energy Transfer Partners “will connect the rapidly expanding Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois,” transporting about 470,000 barrels of oil per day, according to an article in Heavy.com.
However, the Standing Rock Sioux, whose drinking water is at risk from any pipeline leakage (and pipelines always leak), and whose ancient cultural sites are imperiled by the construction—last week a burial site was bulldozed—have been facing down privately hired security contractors.
Clashes have occurred, with injuries on both sides; protesters have been pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs. Protesters have been arrested after chaining themselves to construction equipment.
Native American protesters are living in camps on the Standing Rock reservation while they protest the pipeline’s construction, says BBC. A community has arisen as the tribe is joined by representatives of other Indian nations, environmentalists, and others who support the tribe’s cause.
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice intervened:
On September 9, a federal judge denied the tribes’ legal request to temporarily stop the pipeline, said ABC News. The Los Angeles Times reported that “U.S. District Judge James Boasberg issued an order in Washington that lifted a temporary halt on a portion of the pipeline that crossed public land.” However, a short time later the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was stepping in, saying “that the Corps of Engineers will at least temporarily halt authorization for construction of the pipeline around Lake Oahe, while it reviews its previous decisions regarding this large reservoir,” according to ABC.
It’s a tense situation, of critical importance not only to the Standing Rock Sioux, but to the land rights of all Native Americans, with implications for Canada’s First Nations and Inuit as well.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Hoaxtead.
Good question. That’s what we wondered when we saw Rupert wearing this faux Indian headdress yesterday:
Correctly anticipating that this unbelievably disrespectful bit of cultural appropriation would likely draw negative attention, he added this comment:
Rupert, this doesn’t make it okay. Millions of white Americans who’ve never been near a reservation in their lives will claim they have “Native blood” somewhere many generations back, but that doesn’t make them Native Americans. And it’s hugely disrespectful to suggest that they are.
As for the headdress itself…no. Just no.
According to âpihtawikosisân, the feathered headdress that Rupert is wearing in this photo
[I]mitate[s] those worn by various Plains nations. These headdresses are … restricted within the cultures to men who have done certain things to earn them. It is very rare for women in Plains cultures to wear these headdresses, and their ability to do so is again quite restricted.
So unless you are a native male from a Plains nation who has earned a headdress, or you have been given permission to wear one (sort of like being presented with an honorary degree), then you will have a very difficult time making a case for how wearing one is anything other than disrespectful, now that you know these things. If you choose to be disrespectful, please do not be surprised when people are offended… regardless of why you think you are entitled to do this.
While we were still choking on the spectacle of Rupert making a mockery of a culture in the name of trying to jump aboard the North Dakota pipeline protest bandwagon, Angie came up with a clanker of her own:
A few things: Yes, the Cherokee are an American Indian tribe. But they’re not Sioux, and they’re not from Standing Rock. All North American indigenous people are not the same, and it’s insulting to suggest they are.
The video Angie shared featured the Scottish hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ played on panpipes, with sub-titles of a “Native American Prayer” running along the bottom of the screen.
We’re sure this will come as startling news to Angie: ‘Amazing Grace’ isn’t a Native American song, even if it’s played on sort of vaguely aboriginal-sounding panpipes, which in any event are generally associated with the native peoples of Central America. Yes, even if it features a picture of a Plains Indian person looking into the distance in the traditional Noble Savage pose.
You might be asking, “So what?”
So what if Angela and Rupert decide to make an awkward last-minute leap aboard a bandwagon an ocean and half a continent away, which neither of them knows anything about? Big deal. Aren’t they entitled to make themselves look like moronic cretins if they want to?
Sure they are.
But we think it speaks to their fundamentally exploitative approach: they don’t care that Rupert insults the indigenous people of North America with his un-earned headdress, nor that Angela wouldn’t know a “Cherokee prayer” if she tripped over one. What difference does any of that make, as long as they are seen to be running to the head of the parade, grabbing a baton, and mugging for the camera?
They’ve done the same with Hoaxtead itself, pre-emptively declaring themselves queen and king of a despicable hoax, donning the personas of what they imagine ‘paedophile hunters’ might look like, spouting pious words (in Angie’s case) and arrogantly aggressive ones (in Rupert’s).
But at heart, it’s all hollow, a sham that insults people who’ve truly been subjected to childhood sexual abuse.
Like Kevin Annett before them, they’ve appropriated cultures and causes that aren’t theirs, and they don’t care who they hurt as long as their own names are glorified.
We’ll give our friends at Conscious Consumer Network Exposed the last word: