But what if I want to wear indigenous jewellery?
Having had enough of the massive rift between the Hipster parasites and the everything’s-cultural-appropriation community, I have finally decided to write a post of do’s and don’ts when it comes to cultural appropriation and jewellery. Yes hipsters, you can wear some things, no hipsters, you do not get to choose what you get to wear.
- Most indigenous communities are dependant upon the selling of traditional art and jewellery to generate incomes, to completely ignore this and boycott all forms of indigenous jewellery would in the end do more damage to the community, than if one were to wear said thing in the first place.
- This does however not translate as ‘everything goes’ - some things have a cultural value which makes them, both in theory and practice, unwearable by outsiders; among these things I would list, in particular, traditional clothes, war bonnets and religious regalia.
- Furthermore, when buying an indigenous piece of jewellery it is of utmost importance to buy said piece of jewellery from a recognised indigenous artist; buying a dream catcher made in Taiwan, or a Saami wristband sold by H&M is an act of cultural appropriation, as it strips the community of something which is specific to them, without giving anything back to said community, whereas buying a thing from an artist in many ways help the community.
- If the thing you’re wanting to buy doesn’t have a clear description of who made it, where it’s from, and its cultural significance, don’t buy it.
- If a member of an indigenous community from whence your piece of jewellery comes is offended by your wearing of it, take it off. Simple as that, don’t argue about it, just respect their opinion.
- Never buy anything that has a religious undertone with the intent to wear it; personally I get all itchy when I see people with noaiddi drum necklaces, and I guess some Native Americans feel the same about people who wear medicine wheels or dream catchers.
- If a member of a native community gives you a piece of indigenous jewellery as a gift, do NOT decline out of fear of engaging in cultural appropriation; it would be far more rude to decline the offer of a gift, at least this is the case among the Saami, and most other communities I am familiar with.
- Never question the price of an indigenous piece of jewellery - the income generated from the selling of one single piece of jewellery is often split up among several families, and unless you’re willing to pay for the time someone spent on creating the piece of jewellery that you’re wanting to wear, don’t buy it.
- If you’re buying from a second hand source, always request details with regards to whom made your jewellery.
Hope this helps.
A final note;
- If I see you with a war bonnet I am going to get upset.