Support organizations who are advocating for Native Americans. While acknowledging the hardships and disadvantages presented to Native Americans, using a place of privilege to give back is a vital way to be an ally. Vision Maker Media continues to support and amplify Native voices, but here are a few other organizations doing their part:
An important part of Native American culture is artistic expression. Native Americans celebrate their unique tribes, heritage and culture through artistic expression. While Vision Maker Media works to amplify Native American communities through film, it doesn’t end there. Whether it’s through jewelry making, clothes, writing, or music, Native Americans utilize many different outlets of expression.
You can shop all Native-owned companies through Etsy here:
Or check out Beyond Buckskin:
You can also support the next generation of Native artists through the Native Arts Initiative, an organization striving to bring opportunity and celebration for Native youth. Keep up with more of the work they’re doing by visiting their website:
Native American culture is beautiful, and it can be tempting to want to wear that headdress or hang up that dreamcatcher, but as allies we need to think twice. It’s important to understand the difference between celebrating Native culture and appropriating it.
Appropriation creates harmful stereotypes and reduces thousands of years of rich cultural heritage to a cheap gag. It’s dehumanizing to our Native friends when you don a Native American themed costume on Halloween or sport a headdress at a music festival. A Headdress should be looked at on the same level as the “Medal of Honor.” Native American regalia should be regarded as deeply religious garb.
If you want to celebrate culture, consider talking to your Native friends about the best way to do so. Buying directly from Native American artists is also a great way to support and celebrate Native culture appropriately. In short, celebrating Native culture requires respect, historical and cultural knowledge, and the consent of Native American people.