Urban Outfitters Navajo Collection -- Trendy or Offensive?
[Editor's Note: Every few years, the fashion powers-that-be declare it The Year of the Some Other Culture. This fall, Urban Outfitters is enamored with all things Navajo -- from beaded bracelets to geometric-print flasks (I can't make this stuff up).
Adrienne at Native Appropriations will make you think twice before buying one of these items. --Grace]
So what's inherently wrong with using Navajo in product names? And what can tribal nations do about it?
First of all, these products represent a stereotype of "southwest" Native cultures. The designs are loosely based on Navajo rug designs (maybe?) or Pendleton designs, but aren't representations that are chosen by the tribe or truly representative of Navajo culture. Associating a sovereign Nation of hundreds of thousands of people witl a flask or women's underwear isn't exactly honoring.