Culture is Not a Costume

Practice Point

Culture is Not a Costume

October 25, 2019

“OUR CULTURE IS NOT A COSTUME,” said Calgarian Michelle Robinson. “We are real people with a real culture and depicting it incorrectly just adds to negative stereotypes and adds to violence we face.”

(Anis Heydari, “Halloween costumes depicting their culture ‘demeaning,’ say Calgary Indigenous people,” CBC News Calgary website)

For more information on cultural appropriation, see Think Before You Appropriate,  from Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH). It’s a guide to help creators, designers, marketers, and merchandisers avoid misappropriating Indigenous cultures.

See also S*T*A*R*S (Ohio University’s Students Teaching About Racism in Society), with an annual poster campaign that’s been running since 2011.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.