Friday, January 31, 2014

Indoor teepees: now offensive in Canada

Heather Abbey did a double-take when she first came across photos on Pinterest of miniature teepees decorating children’s bedrooms.

“To be honest, I was surprised the first time I saw them,” said Abbey, a Plains Cree entrepreneur. “Then I realized they’re all over Etsy, they’re huge in New York, they’re huge in Toronto.”

Teepees are officially trending in the world of interior design. They’re “where the stylish 7-year-old has play dates and story time,” the Wall Street Journal wrote, noting that celebrities such as Nicole Richie and Miley Cyrus had them. High-end d├ęcor chains such as Elte, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware sell them for hundreds of dollars. HomeSense makes a miniature version for dogs. Walmart’s website has multiple offerings, including an indoor/outdoor one that’s “large enough for the entire tribe.”

But critics say turning teepees into furniture is just one more example of cultural appropriation, taking a famous symbol of aboriginal culture and stripping it of all context before selling it. A new Toronto business, the Parkdale Teepee Company, has been the target of social media ire this week. “Couldn’t be Parkdale forts/something less racist?” wrote one Twitter user with the name Erin Styles.



Stan B said...

Christians have had to deal with this for millenia - including the satirizing of "sacred symbols" for social commentary (I point you to the "Darwin" fish, and the Darwinian amphibian eating a "Christian" fish.) Portions of cultures have always been appropriated by other cultures in a less than respectful manner. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Another example of the professionally aggrieved at work.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes a teepee is just a tent and not a cultural icon.

Anonymous said...

Telling me that Nicole Richie and Miley Cyrus had little TeePees to play with as they grew up is NOT a good way to sell me on them. Whoever though of using those two train wrecks as examples of usage by the famous wasn't thinking very well.

Anonymous said...

I thought imitation was the sincerest form of flattery (in this case re-interpreting a cultural artifact or way-of-life).

Anonymous said...

The liberals love it when the schools force your children to "experience" different "lifestyles" but when a business makes a profit selling it they go berserk.