February 2, 2012

Etsy Is A Breeding Ground For....

Etsy is a breeding ground for Native American stereotypes, tackiness, and tastelessness. Yea I'm being crude, rude, and blunt. But it needs to be said (see the "Native Princess and Sky Quilted Vintage Purple Meditation Wrap Kimono Vest by MountainGirlClothing" to the left - hey, it's on sale too).

Ok, so, the deal on Etsy - Etsy is "the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace." In other words, people make stuff, find vintage stuff, and then sell it on Etsy in their cyber shops. In theory, it is a great way to launch small businesses. Think about it, you can operate a small business out of your home in rural Tinyville and reach millions of people throughout the world with just a few clicks. In theory, it is a fantastic resource for artists and 'crafters'.

And, in theory, Etsy can serve as a great resource for Native American artists and designers (note, I did not say 'crafters' - that's a different story).

So I hit up Etsy with full force last November. I searched for Native artists and small businesses to feature on Beyond Buckskin. And I found some really great ones (click here to see some legit work). I have a little Etsy jar where I set aside money to buy my favorite items (earrings) from Native-run Etsy shops. I'm excited.

BUT, there's a dark side to Etsy. Yes, and normally I consider the 'dark side' to be a good thing, but in this case, it's not, it's just tacky.

First, if you go on Etsy and search "Native American," good luck finding items that are actually "Native American" (and, just to be clear, I mean, 'made by Native Americans'), instead you will find items made by non-Natives, but inspired by Native cultures. And you probably know where this is going:

The Wolf Tee:

The Wooden Indian Head:

The Shaman Smudging Spray:

And the Shaman spray can doesn't even surprise me - there are a lot of Shamans on Etsy. Evidently, that's the place to be if you're a Shaman. There's even a Shaman named Many Feathers who will 'bless your purchases': "As a shaman, Many Feathers is able to bless your purchases in the tradition of his people before they are sent to you, which is especially powerful if they are meant to be a gift for someone you love." Thank you Many Feathers, but how about you do what a Medicine Person is supposed to do, and help your people?

Another guy, Trollblood, sells items labeled 'Native American,' yet says, "we take pride in creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind items with the New Age community in mind." LMAO! This one is beyond critique.

Many stores label their items "Native American," but it isn't until you read their profile that you discover this: "I am not an enrolled citizen of any federally recognized Native American Tribe. Any resemblance to an authentic Native American piece of artwork is not intentional and is by mistake" (by mistake!! this statement is from Doves Native Designs, who also created the bone choker to the right). In compliance with the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, you cannot "sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe." It's illegal.

One fellow good Etsyist, Noelle Shaw states, "It is offensive and illegally undermines authentic Native American art markets exponentially. It is blatant cultural theft for profit."

So, I gotta do something. I want to draft up a short letter that I can send to anyone using the label "Native American" to sell their stuff, and it is CLEAR that they are using the label as a marketing tactic (in the words of my friend, "Native Americans are so hot right now"). I'm thinking something like this:

Dear Etsy Shop Owner,

I am writing to let you know of a federal law that prohibits the misrepresentation in marketing of Native American arts and crafts products within the United States.

It is called the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. More information can be found here: http://www.iacb.doi.gov/act.html

It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Native American produced, a Native American product, or the product of a particular Native American tribe. For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a 5-year prison term, or both.

Please remove the label "Native American" from your items, or I will go forth with reporting a violation.

Dr. Jessica R. Metcalfe
(Turtle Mountain Chippewa)

What do you think? Should I add anything? A drop kick? A hug? A curtsy?

I have an additional question - what do I do about 'descendants?' I love descendants, but there are a lot of individuals who claim ancestry, yet are not members of their communities, nor have any connections to the communities they are claiming. One example is this:

"A note about my Native American inspired works: I am not a registered Native American and don't claim that my art works are made by a Native American. My great grandmother was Cherokee, so it's in my bloodline and in my soul. I have always been drawn to Native American culture and love the legends, the traditions, the art, the animals, the people, the stories."

And then she creates works titled, "Tipi Wigwam Native American Painting." Teepees and wigwams are completely different dwellings, and Cherokees didn't live in either of them. From an academic perspective, these fools perpetuate the miseducation and romanticizing of Native American cultures, histories, and contemporary existence. Be a good descendant, and learn your heritage.

One Etsy owner wrote, "I would forrage into the woods and let the visions and inspirations of these sacred lands find expression in my art." And my cousin Jen responded, "Exin-na dis one!" Exin-na is right! They might see 'ancient Native American visions,' but we just hear our Grammas laughing at them.

At any rate. Etsy needs to be cleaned up. The Native American rubbish blowing around is getting out of hand. Etsy shop owners, I'm watchin you!

If you want to support Native artists doing their thing and creating awesome stuff, check in here at Beyond Buckskin, or go to my Etsy page and click on my favorite shops.

NOTE: For those of you newcomers who are here to defend the mis-use and mis-appropriation of Indigenous cultures and traditions by non-Natives on Etsy, please visit NATIVE APPROPRIATIONS for more information on why appropriating Native cultures isn't cool.

"Dr. Metcalfe. I sift through the crap, so you don't have to."


  1. Etsy Native American crafter-wanna be's: KNOCK IT OFF!!!

    1. Are you kidding me? Invite native Americans to put there beautiful creations on Etsy, but why take down someone else's beautiful creation just bc they were not lucky enough to be born native American, where do you get this insane idealogue?So because I'm Irish I cannot make the shea butter lotion I craft since the shea butter tree origintes in Africa? That's nuts. My father was a Chocktaw Indian, I grew up in New Mexico and respect native Americans so much, and I was adopted, I found my blood heritage was Irish on documents when my parents died. But my environmental
      heritage is Welsh and Chocktaw. I love them all. Let people create what they want. And Love them ALL. Peace be with you.

  2. Wow! Everything I was totally thinking. Vicious article Jessica! There's a (non-Native)guy on there who paints and sells canvas art of designs "He saw and liked at a powwow on someone's regalia." So basically, he's stealing family art, and admitting it... while he sells it? I don't understand how this is ok. I just started an Etsy shop, and am about to fill it with awesome authentic freshness, so I love the idea and possibilities. I think the real Native community could really thrive on there. It's time to tell the fakes to slow their roll, and get the Native trolls policing the site. IACA is my copyright, trademark, and patent. Stop biting my shit! Unless its reciprocal, and I get to sell paintings of your wife.

    1. Right on and good luck with your Etsy store, I have a store on Esty, I make shea butter cream as one of my products, so since I'm Irish I can't make shea butter since the tree originates in Africa? Such a postulation is insane. Peace be with you.

  3. You're amazing! Your letter is amazing. I fully support this. Let me know if you need help, I would be happy to.

  4. I think this is great, but do you think that people who claim to be Native need to be registered? As I'm sure you know, becoming registered can be a pain in the ass, and let's not even touch the subject of non-recognized (but fully legitimate!!) tribes!

    I get where you're coming from and completely agree, I just wonder: how do you draw the line? What would your suggestions be? I do like your point that those who claim to be "descendants" at least learn something before perpetuating this image of the weird, mythical creature, "the Native."

  5. I am Captain of the Etsy team, Native American Forum Team...Walking The Red Road. Our members are Registered/Enrolled Natives Americans, artists who are Native by blood but choose not to be registered, and those who are not Native but are inspired by our culture and art. All are equally welcome as members of our Etsy team.

    Many of our Etsy members who are registered/enrolled promote their items as Native American. Those who are not clearly identify that their items are "Native American Style" or "Native American Inspired/Influenced." Such is the case with Doves Native Designs. The very first line of her shop clearly states that her items are "Native American Influenced Original Designs".

    She has made no attempt to deceive visitors to her store nor has she violated the IACA. I am sorry that you selected her store to illustrate your point when there are so many Etsy sellers that are in violation of the Act and/or offer the tasteless, sterotypical, insulting items that you mention. Doves Native Designs is not one of them.

    I have contacted Etsy in the past to inquire as to why they have no policy about tagging items Native American and/or non-natives promoting/titleing items as Native American. They declined to take a postition and suggested I contact an "expert". I am not allowed to copy that e-mail here as it would be a violtion of Etsy's TOU's (Terms of Use). But should you like to discuss it, please convo me.

    A little over a year ago, one of our members was contacted by IACA Board President through Etsy's convo system as they had titled items using various tribal names. At that time, the postion suggested by IACA was to include "Style or Inspired" in their title if they were not registered members of a U.S. regognized tribe. Unless and/or until their postion has changed, our members are within their rights to follow this recommendation.

    While Ebay has very stringent rules regarding promoting items as Native American, Native American Style, and/or Native American Inspired, Etsy does not. However, Etsy's not having clear policies does not preclude the law's being pertinent and applicable. The law is the law.

    I think your letter is well done. My only suggestion for your letter is that the term "label" is confusing. Do you mean titles, tags, or both? If you are talking about titles. I concur. If you are talking about tags, this is going to be a major problem and even the member of the IACA board that I discussed this with would/could not give a definitive statement of guidance.

    As an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, a United States Recognized Tribe, I support your position that those in violation of the IACA on Etsy should be contacted, made aware, and reported if they persist in violating the Act.

    However, I do not support calling out those Etsy artists who are inspired or influenced by Native American style and clearly say so in their shop announcements and/or profiles.

    I have knowingly purchased and promoted the work of many Etsy artists who are not "Native" as defined by the IACA and will continue to do so. I believe we must be in agreement on this as not all of your "Etsy Favorites" are registered/enrolled Native Americans as defined by the IACA.

    Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to your endeavors to make Etsy IACA compliant.

    Joni Stinson, Registered Member of the Muscogee Creek Nation

    1. In the physical world, I'm sure many of the people who ARE in violation of the IACA are good people, in general. Phrasing words to duck and dive around Federal Law is a good parlor trick, but it won't stand up to further scrutiny. Etsy is an International marketplace, and because of that... there needs to be changes that take out the variables.I will be presenting this issue to Tribal leaders at the end of this month, at the Res Economic Summit 2012, here in Las Vegas. Anyone who wishes to join the discussion is welcome to come out and do so.

    2. I too have blood from more than on nation. No offense, though it will be taken, it always is. It is my heritage. I was blessed with legitimate sources to know the pieces of my heritage as well as many others as well as the differences. What work I do for sale is not identified as being anything. It is beadwork, a leather pouch. I campaigned heavily for Idle no more and other smaller projects as best I could being disabled. But one thing I did not see you touch on. It has long been said, the medicine is not for sale, not to be charged for. If consumers don't know the difference, then we need to do more than police the artisans. Even if I had proof of enough blood to qualify in one nation for a card. I would not take it. My argument? why am I allowing the very governments being complained about to continue to destroy are nations by making for less and less of us? Blood quantum mathematically eliminate sustainable indigenous populations. I do not understand why we help them.

  6. Ick! Reminds me of the too many times I've tried searching for Native produced items on Etsy and eventually gave up because I was often fed the stereotype, tacky, tasteless & oogly! Mind if I copy & paste that letter for future use?

    You, and anyone else, have every right to be "crude, rude, and blunt" about the matter. And I wholeheartedly agree with Noelle Shaw when she says: "It is offensive and illegally undermines authentic Native American art markets exponentially. It is blatant cultural theft for profit."

    But while I have my share of misgivings about blood quantum that keeps some of us from registering (I've even met a few un-recognized folk & a small family of full-bloods that simply can't register because their lineage comes from a number of nations), I do find registered member a useful tag in helping to separate the wheat from the chaff in my searches to find a legit item. Even though being a registered member doesn't make them immune to being tacky, tasteless or stereotypical.

    I'm not sure much can be done in the cases such as Doves Native Designs as the products are all tagged with "inspired" at the end. I fuckin' hate that loophole! I'd really like to see the muck and rubbish pile cleaned as well. But until then, guess I'll be using your Etsy page for help.

  7. Do you have suggestions of authentic sites we can visit? For those of us that don't have the knowledge, but want authenticity, this would be a great service.

    1. Not a comprehensive list by any means, but a few resources for you!


  8. Descendant here... descendant of three tribes, actually, two of which I am "one generation away from being eligible for enrolled" and I just wanted to chime in to say that in addition to not actually being able to be enrolled, I also can't do art and call it "Native" under the Act. How this plays out: I don't even consider doing indigenous/traditional art for money/sale/exhibition, which sucks, because art makes me happy, I'm creative, I have visions, etc. But it's too much of a can of worms for me to even consider it.

    Of course, if I do art and people read my story, most people with a brain will get that I am not a new age wannabe. However, as far as the law goes, I am lumped into the same category as the wannabes and appropriators. This also sucks, because I AM ACTUALLY NATIVE! I descend from THREE TRIBES! Yet under the law, I am on the same level of legitimacy as Miss Sage Wolf Shirt with Feather Earrings Who Has Always Been Inspired By Native American Culture (sic).

    And about descendants, there are more and more of us as we move into the future, and we often are bright, creative people who have had to accept our cultural not-quite-ness from day 1, while still trying to maintain our cultural/familial/community connectivity. Accepting that injustice (blood quantum paradoxes and catch-22s) makes us strong and resilient (or we give up...) and often creative, which makes for likelihood of artistry. It seems that most tribes are too slow to change their eligibility requirements, at least not quick enough to capture their changing populations. No good answer, but the descendant issue is only gonna get thicker.

    1. I have a lot of true "descendants" in my family, So I understand this clearly. The story were telling in this blog, is about people who wish to exploit the idea of Native Spirituality for profit. When someone calls their crappy bag of turtle bones or whatever, a "medicine pouch" that was prayed over... and that is a selling point on Etsy, that is false. And just because something is listed as "Native Inspired" doesn't duck the IACA laws. What you are, and what a true "Descendant" should be, is "In the loop." Support our causes, learn about our modern day issues, be a part of our communities. "Indian" is a culture and a lifestyle, not a mystical product line. Like I said on Facebook, " You cannot cash-in on the beauty of my culture, when you refuse to live through our pain." Both are one and the same. Thanks for your comments.

    2. I would like to comment on the IACA in general from my personal perspective. I understand their are many complexities within the Native communities in regards to identity, due to the fracturing of tribal identities through treaties, forced relocation, genocide and cultural reform efforts. I am undoubtedly Native American, yet I am uncounted and I am an artist so I have really wrangled on a personal level with this issue over the years.

      I ultimately made a final decision that reflects my hard stance on IACA violation issues. It represents the importance I place on protecting Native art markets as greater than my personal inclination to share the woven connections between my art, race and heritage. The fragile indigenous Native American Art market needs to be protected by each and every one of us.

      As an uncounted Native American, I have decided to not identify my art work in any way with my race or heritage. I am primarily of Cherokee descent, and my children are also Saginaw Chippewa. I am admittedly more connected with my children's tribe and culture than my own due to our location.

      I feel this is the strongest stance I can take in support of IACA. The best way uncounted Natives can support and protect Native American Artists and Art Markets is to place the needs of the Native Nations above their personal needs. I urge all uncounted Native Americans, not to be confused with "Native hobbyists", to take a strong stand in support of IACA.

  9. If only we had such a law down here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any IP that protects indigenous peoples, or their cultural heritage. I've wanted to write such a letter so many times, to web sites such as www.endemicworld.com/ Type in 'Maori' here and see what comes up. :-(

  10. I've been addicted to etsy for years- fortunately I've kicked the habit. I never saw any of this stuff get bad until this year though- maybe I just never noticed- but I saw some similar shockers lately on etsy, I always knew it was out there- in real life stores selling plastic Indians practically line certain parts of American highways, especially in places that are 'authentically' Indian - like reserves- lol- I guess it has taken off in the mainstream for other people to be trying to make money on it again?

  11. I really hope you send that letter out! This is a fantastic post. I'm so glad someone finally said something.

  12. Hi Jessica,

    I think I understand the part of your post objecting to Etsy sellers who intentionally mislead buyers into believing they are purchasing products made by enrolled Native Americans. I don't think anyone likes to be scammed, whether it be through a purchasing contract or something else, so that's a no-brainer and I agree wholeheartedly.

    But are you saying you also object to anyone who is not enrolled basing their product on Native American Designs and saying so? Or designing a product based on Native designs, whether they credit the inspiration or not? Either way, I see a need for a whole army of design patent lawyers in your future if you want to try to change that :>)

    As far as the letter, have you got Etsy Admin's approval to send it to sellers? You might want to do that first or you could find your project shut down by Etsy pretty quickly as sellers in turn complain about you.

    And are you certain non-Natives are really trying to cash in on a hot trend, because as far as I know, "Native" is not "hot". As a matter of fact, it's totally dead in New England and none of my team mates on Etsy are making a fortune with either their Native or Native inspired products.

    Have you ever considered that others might sincerely find beauty in Native American designs and admire the Native American path? And that this might be desireable for the Native people and be helpful in gaining support, attention, and recognition?

    Yes, you will find tacky, tasteless and stereotyping all throughout Etsy and beyond. You can choose to focus on the negative, or use your talents to build on the positive.

    You've joined a team on Etsy - the Native American Forum and you wrote about one of your team mates here on your blog, Doves Native Designs, which would normally be a cause for all of us to celebrate but was obviously not in this case. I don't know what your Native Grammas would say about that, but I do know my Irish and Italian Nanas wouldn't be laughing.

    Maybe try a little kindness in the future? We are all connected...that means ALL of us.

    Best of luck with your book ~

    member Etsy for Animals and
    The Native Forum teams

    1. To answer your questions:

      "But are you saying you also object to anyone who is not enrolled basing their product on Native American Designs and saying so?" No.

      "Or designing a product based on Native designs, whether they credit the inspiration or not?" No.

      "As far as the letter, have you got Etsy Admin's approval to send it to sellers?" No.

      "Have you ever considered that others might sincerely find beauty in Native American designs and admire the Native American path?" Yes.

      "And that this might be desireable for the Native people and be helpful in gaining support, attention, and recognition?" Umm.. no.

      "Maybe try a little kindness in the future?" Yes.

  13. I actually sent a note expressing my concerns about cultural appropriation to one of the etsy sellers in this post. She sent back a really nasty response and threatened to report me to etsy.

    1. Hi Raychel!

      Yes, I've gotten a 'threat' as well (that I was going to get 'reported' to Etsy).

      Don't let threats silence you.

    2. White privilege and white possession will always send threats. It's "theirs," remember? We are a people of the past so they can take our stuff. We don't exist now to them.

  14. I am an Alaskan Native, I don't shop on etsy at all, never have but my thoughts are: If you are truly tired of this what are you waiting for, report the ones you know about. If it "needs to be said", it needs to be reported, so stop writing about it and do something about it.

  15. Here's the rub. If someone, that is pre-dominantly white CAN prove that their great grandma was a Cherokee princess, there's not a darn thing one can do about this. But for pete's sake, "shaman spray". Of COURSE they are NOT honoring anyone's ancestors, even their fake ones, or real ones. They need to be EDUCATED.

  16. " You cannot cash-in on the beauty of my culture, when you refuse to live through our pain."

    Isn't that the truth? I also want to say that while I appreciate what Dr. Jessica is doing, I want to express the need for us Natives that are non rez residents, to turn to our brothers and sisters in need and not forget them. They don't want a hand out, they want a hand UP. Donate your time, money, and yourself. These are things that are important NOW, even as much as educating people about appropriation. Thank you.

  17. great publicity....when do you plan on running for office?

  18. Front page of Etsy today. Disheartening.


    Have you tried submitting your letter through the report function? I've got my own form letter citing IACA that I submit that way. Get the jump on them, report them before they report you.

  19. Right on! Every wasicun is on esty. Total disrespectful of all things North American Indian. No respect, no honor, no truth. However, esty is not alone - many other examples of concoctions claiming to be NDN.

  20. You should link it when you've set it up! I'd like to buy authentic works.

  21. You didn't seem hostile at all. It's ridiculous that white people feel hurt by your words trying to regain some respect and justice for the abuse of this artwork. This is a great article!

  22. i just happened to stumble across this blog today, i know my comment is a bit late but i have a question. I AM NOT native but all 3 of my daughters are, i have 2 dakota sioux and 1 anishinabe, i say anishinabe because the family likes to be called that vs ojibwe because it recognizes with the woodlands, anyways, i am very active in the native community, my boyfriends family treats me as if i were native and ive attended ceremonies and met with the medicine man. i dont talk to any of my family so the only family i have is my boyfriends, anyways... I bead with my children and do a lot of native crafts. In all honesty if i were to choose to sell items on etsy they would not be true native american made as i am german russian, but i was taught by natives . I am in no way trying to be rude, but am curious to what your opinion would be in a situation like mine? 

  23. Hi Bec!
    Interesting perspective! I am also Anishinaabe and we have a long history of marrying outsiders in to our communities. I think being an active participant of the community is key. The Etsy sellers I mentioned in the post above are not members of any Native communities and have no connections to anyone in the communities, they merely find our cultures inspiring and have discovered that they can profit off of exploiting our cultures.

  24. lol i figured your perspective on doing things with the kids would be different, i agree that etsy is a crock of shit. and their pics for their junk is even dumber, there seems to be a massive infiltration of "native" stuff in fashion lately. for example yesterday i was looking online at the store pac sun and literally every 3rd item on their site has a feather or some type of native pattern on it...and the names of the clothing are pretty racist too ....kinda ridiculous and sad...also i was reading your  page more and i see your from turtle mountain, my boyfriend is actually trying to get enrolled there and hopefully we then can enroll our daughter there too! 

  25. I agree with you as the government gets to decide who is "Indian" or not. Messed up...

  26. Excellent post. I hope you did send the letter.

  27. Thank you so much. I'm so sick of people listing those crappy imported pieces of 'Ndn style' bead work as "authentic Native American (almost always Navajo for some weird reason) made", usually with one or two words like warrior, spirit or maiden in the title. Don't people notice that their ooak items are exactly like 220 other listings? I have been very nice and messaged people who were selling these items as to what they really are, and of the requirements under IACA. I've continued to get a lot of nasty messages back. I even tried to explain how, as an enrolled(not registered, were not dogs) member of a federally recognized tribe, and a bead worker and outfit maker(? not sure what other title to use) the sale of these items as Ndn made, erodes sales of legitimate Ndn artwork, ultimately making it very difficult for Ndn artists to make any sort of living off our art. There were many times in my early adulthood that I HAD to make beaded items or outfits in order to put food on the table. Furthermore, If left unchecked the fraudulent listing and sales of these items act to CHEAPEN OUR CULTURE. Omg, where can't you buy an imported dream catcher?

    So anyway, I've spent quite a bit of time reporting sellers and their items as violations of IACA, if its not totally blatant I try to educate them and give them the opportunity to change their listing on there own. Most auction sites refer to this act under policy violations. I just hope they take me seriously.

    Btw, this one non ndn woman stated in her listing that her items were from a smoke free home except for 'smudging' for sacred ceremonial spiritual purposes. How weird is that? Ok, I've ranted enough, and I really need to go find my crystals so I can go connect with my sacred, spirit totem of the wild wolf of the medicine wheel in the smoke of my smudge stick while chanting my proud, maiden, spirit, peace pipe, authentic, doeskin halter top, dance.....All purchased from a ebay shaman..

    Thank you for allowing me to vent,

    A Mad Crow Indian

    1. Osiyo
      I love your posts! I have a question? I'm a registered Cherokee of Oklahoma, my father used to always say I was light as a feather as a child, he recently passed..so I opened up my shop on Etsy, I named it Little Feather in honor of my father, I don't come from Cherokee princess clan haha Now it's starting to sound like something a non Native would say..what do you think? Should I change my name?

  28. Informative article but what has the wolf t-shirt got anything to do with it? I would understand if it was actual native appropriation but you lost me there.

  29. Bloody well said! The Native American Arts and Crafts Loophole... if you BUY membership into one of those STATE 'tribes', even if you are from Bangkok, Thailand, you, too can sell as a Native American! Rave right on, this was great to find!

  30. Absolutely! Send it to anyone misappropriating true Native Blood and Heritage. If you have gone to 1 pow wow or your favorite movie is Last of the Mohicans and it resonates with you, you still are not a Native American. Bust their ass! I am a painter. I have learned to watermark my name across every painting I post because there is the real threat that online thieves will steal your art if you don't make them stop. It totally sucks. Go after them every time. You Rule!

  31. Wonderful article!! I have a business on Etsy and sell my Native jewelry there and I posted on my store that it was illegal Im very upset at seeing headdress from Indonesia! What? Seriously ticked here! they are taking away our culture! I've just about had it lol
    I am a registered member of the Cherokee tribe, my father is Cherokee, my mother is Yurok and Karuk from N California. I'm sickened at what I'm seeing, everything has been taken away from our Elders and now trying to take away our lively hood as well...you go girl!! lol I hope this gets fixed soon...Wado

  32. Has anything been done by this on Etsy? I want to leave Etsy but I also love Etsy. As a non-status Ojibway/Metis, I would have recognition in Canada, but the US doesn't recognize Metis the way Canada does. I'm also Indigenous Saami on my Mom's side.

    I'm am so sickened by cultural appropriation. Etsy needs to have stringent policy and adhere to it. Can we start a petition to get this going? I think it would gain some momentum!

  33. I loved your post and letter. I never knew about it being illegal to sell things as Native American if the seller wasn't. Really interesting. Thanks for the information - I learn something new every day. (And yes, those things they sell are super tacky... Your stuff is very nice!) Thanks! :)

  34. I am of two perspectives on this topic. I have bought two things from two different sights. I looked at the quality, I looked at the owner, and if I liked what they were doing and it was "authentic" at least in style and quality, I bought the items. Now, I have finally found the Native connections in my family line. When my mother found I was looking this up, she came unglued on me!! It was not a good thing to be Native American and to be from the "south". I have found Eastern Cherokee on my Father's side and Powhatan on my mother's side. Both my mother and my father were 2nd cousins. Their roots are from Eastern Tennessee. So, I am not a "registered" member, although if I wanted to go through the hassle, I could be. I have felt and known I had Native American roots all of my life, I just could not prove it until now. I was taught in college by an Ojibway professor, one sure sign of Native heritage is teeth that are curved like a shovel. The teeth would be so curved, it would be profound and stick out. She reported as an anthropologist that is a sign that is indigenous to Natives to the Northern Americans, specifically. I have that... I researched my background all the way to the "Great Powhatan" chief, and to the Lookout Mountain Cherokee and blood line to my father. On the European side, my ancestors were members of the House of Burgesses, and one took a Powhatan wife after his wife, who came from England/Ireland died in the new land. I am a blood line descendant of that union. I am proud of my heritage from the Cherokee and especially from the Powhatan!!! I am not registered. I do write in support, education, and acknowledgement of those who "share in the pain". The Trail of Tears stole the knowledge of who I am from me. I have two Master's degree's one in Education and one in professional Counseling. I participate in the local Pow Wow's and ceremonies. I have been educated in White Bison, Recovery for Native Americans, and I practice the principles of White Bison with my clients who are willing. I write and blog to people who need to find interconnectedness to self, to family, to community and to a Nation. I follow my heart, and I let the medicine teach. I am not "using" Native American to sell anything.. I just "do". I want to see people healed, whole... and living LIFE... on life's terms. If I should want to "sell" any of the art work I do, I would list it as "inspired", since I am not registered, yet. It is good to know the law, and I do not want to break the law since I work with those in the criminal justice systems. But, by "descendant" heritage, and according to following my heart and doing what comes natural to me, I will follow the Red Road. One can debate on a sight such as this, but it says nothing of who we really are. I have met those who are highly educated and resent people "like me" Native by blood, but not legal. I have to ask, where is the Heart... where is the acceptance? I have also met those to embrace others regardless if they are "registered" or not. I was adopted by a native family who were Lakota and Ojibway. I was honored by a Native Lakota Elder and given my 'rites of passage' by him before he passed. I honor him and his memory, by living according to his words and his heart. He saw my heart, and saw it was good. THESE things are what matter to me, now. A'ho!

  35. I know this is an old article but I just had to comment with applause, applause, applause! I am not a Native American. I am black. My great-grandmother was Choctaw, but that's the extent of it. I also have members of my family that are Irish, British, African and Portuguese but I was not raised to be anything but a black American with respect for other people's cultures.

    Once I went to a Cherokee Indian Pow wow coordinated by a federally recognized nation/tribe. Non-Cherokee Indians were invited. So, I went and purchased my first and only dreamcatcher from a true Cherokee woman. I know that dream catchers were originally made by the Ojibwa people but the dreamcatchers were adopted by some neighboring nations through intermarriage, trade, etc. This dream catcher is made from natural materials and it's beautiful. I don't go on Etsy or anywhere else and purchase Native American wares made by non-natives or marked Made in China. When I want something Japanese, I buy from a Japanese vendor, when I want something from Ghana, I support a Ghanian business, when I want Jamaican food, I support a Jamaican, when I want a black American product, I support a black American and of course, when I want a Native American product, I support a Native American. Not a hippie with a fake Native American name.

  36. I can see why people of this culture would be a bit upset, however the thing that’s always bothered me was how everyone assumes just because someone is light skinned and spiritual or dressed in away they are labeled “hipsters” not saying they are wearing anything of Native American culture. I’m just saying that yes I’m aware that at this time a lot of businesses are putting things out there that are Native inspired or hippieish type styles as well. I’m not saying those are the same thing I’m just saying both of those styles seem to have blown up these days. The reason why I’m commenting is because a lot of these people are being labeled as “hipsters” and putting them in some kinda “wannabe group”. But the truth is, there are those people who have dressed this way before it became “cool”. Some people wear things to feel connected and not alone. Some people support actual Native American art and jewelry that is offered to them and then when worn labeled as “wannabes” because of their skin color? why bother sharing that with others then? I’m not saying everyone thinks that way but I have seen this. Some people have deep spiritual roots and maybe feel alone in the world because a lot of the world is brainwashed and messed up, maybe they feel a connection to cultures that see the world like they do. I believe many of us lived thousands of passed lives. The skin you are in now may have been opposite of what you wore before. Your ancestors can be walking among you to expirance this life though a different light and point of view and be wearing a different skin color, maybe to See that we are all one after all. So what I’m saying is people shouldn’t always judge someone based on looks and label them. There are those who have a deep spiritual wisdom from many life lessons and growth and shouldn’t be judged in that way. I don’t think those people are trying to be native Americans or any other Culture where they feel connected to the earth. I think those people are awaken and have actual love and connection to the earth and see it similar to the spiritual cultures that maybe they were a part of in a past life and that’s why they are drawn to it. I know personally all my life experiences and lessons I learned have made me who I am. I follow none and don’t claime to be anyone other then myself. A lot of my earthly expirances are other worldly, and that’s why I feel alone sometimes. People don’t understand and see what I see, so when you hear of other people having similar experiences and seeing the world as you do it’s hard not to be drawn to them. I see my family , my brothers and sisters in many different forms Whether it’s an animal, tree, or human being Etc. So I just say this because of some of the comments I see. In this life I chose to come as a white women, I chose to see life in this perspective, I know people judge my appearance at first glance, but just like everyone else, I have a story and there is a Depth in my soul. I’m just speaking for those who feel the same and can sometimes feel like they belong everywhere yet nowhere at the same time because of the Division among people and the judgment. For all artists out there, as long as you respect eachother always stay true to your inner self and don’t be afraid to express what you believe and how you see the world through your work no matter where the inspiration comes from! In the end, humans will always judge and devide, talk about oneness yet not share or practice it.

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