Thursday, 6 August 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie says headdresses are 'painful' as fashion trend

Buffy Sainte-Marie has seen fashion-conscious fans show up to concerts wearing headdresses as a trendy statement -- and she's seen enough.

"When it comes to things like headdresses, there are some things that are actually, factually, personally, deeply cultural to our heritage," Sainte-Marie said in an interview in Toronto this week.

"To some guy who's got models in high heels, bikini bottoms, pasties and a big headdress, and everybody's drunk -- I want people to understand why that is painful or disgusting, why that is negative to us.

"It'd be like if you really loved your grandmother or your mom and all of a sudden you're watching wrestling on TV and you see your mom's picture on some wrestler's crotch.

"It's inappropriate. It's not funny. It doesn't help."

For the past few years, headdresses have become a popular -- and controversial -- fashion accessory. The trend seems to rear its ugly head with particular frequency at summer music festivals.

Recently, festivals have fought back against the misguided trend. Osheaga, WayHome, Boots and Hearts, Heavy Montreal, Ile Soniq and the Edmonton Folk Festival have all issued bans in various forms on the fake indigenous headwear.

Still, Sainte-Marie says the trend endures.

"We see it a lot in Europe, especially in Germany," said Sainte-Marie, who was recently shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize for her fiery album "Power in the Blood."

"You see these people showing up and they have handmade, craftsy, fake headdress-like things, and they somehow think they're paying us a compliment.

"But we let them know."

Still, Sainte-Marie -- the decorated owner of an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Gemini and two Juno Awards -- stops short of calling for an outright ban.

She just wants anyone donning a headdress to understand how it will make an aboriginal person feel.

"I don't tell people what to do," she said.

"If you're still going to be a jerk, that's OK, but we want you to know that there are some things that are part of our cultural heritage that mean a lot to us.

"I think it's mostly ignorance," she added. "I think most people who are doing that probably haven't given it much thought."

Buffy Sainte-Marie Interview - Article originally published at


MichaelArchAngel said...

What do you think about Cher's use of headdresses?

clw said...

You cannot call someone ignorant if you are unwilling to teach. If you do not let others know HOW or WHY each feather is significant, then what place do you have to insult their lack of understanding, especially when in their mind, they are simply trying to honor us.

This is exactly the problem with our generation. Too many people get their feelings hurt, and oftentimes it is due to misunderstandings, but so many just want to stick their noses high in the air and preach "blasphemer" at those who simply do not understand.

Teach the people and they will do what they can to help. Shun, and belittle them, and you will only get stomped out, while the flames of the evolving world burn bright without you.

Please, when making an article like this, aim to educate, not demean others. Yes their way of honoring us may be misguided, but would you rather have a misguided attempt at honoring, or someone who just doesn't give a damn at all?

Patricia Gerrald said...

I get it. It's a stolen valor issue - just like someone buying a medal from a yard sale or stealing one, and representing himself or herself as having earned it. I agree with the writer above, though, that it would be helpful to explain the issue rather than just condemning it. Most people don't want to be hurtful. They just see it as a beautiful thing to adapt.

Anonymous said...

I have seen this post on "Aboriginal and Tribal nation news" page, on facebook. I need to share it here, where it belongs, adressed to Buffy.

<< People with no culture seek their homes. They are carying deep grief in the heart due to the cultural aculturation. Some of us are just homeless in their heart, regardless of the fact that they live in homes.

So yeah, it is painful for Buffy... not because the ancestral ways are "stolen" or something... but because by getting closer to those people, she starts to feel their profund confusion and separation from the original soul.

Now her duty is to aim compassion... not anger or revenge or whatever lies to create a war state. She have to understand the nature of empathy, if not, she doesn't worth better than them yet, espacially as an activist (well, most of them have plenty of anger, right ?... which is their weakness).

Let me say this again : Buffy HAS to feel that pain in order to understand what is going on on earth those days. This is not a cultural war... this a heart war. Everyone need seriously to keep that in mind. I don't pretend to be clean here, I am just standing against eventual "praise of the "princess" and condamnation of the "betrayers""... Everyone on earth has this grief, the feeling of being spoiled !, but anger propaganda is just another stab in the wound. >>

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how anyone's ignorance is the fault of anyone but that person. Where does the personal responsibility come in? If I desired to "honor" a specific people group, it would be MY responsibility to educate myself. This is really not about name calling or belittling others, but more pointedly about taking personal responsibility.