When festival goers arrive at the Bass Coast electronic music festival beginning this Friday in British Columbia, they’ll find the usual banned items you’ll see at most such gatherings: no drugs (lol), no weapons, no toaster ovens and so on. But added to that list this year is a rule against attendees donning the type of Native American headdresses that have become such a staple of post-Coachella-core fashion.
They explained in a Facebook post over the weekend:
For various reasons, Bass Coast Festival is banning feathered war bonnets, or anything resembling them, onsite. Our security team will be enforcing this policy.
We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets. They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated.
Bass Coast Festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people. We have consulted with aboriginal people in British Columbia on this issue and we feel our policy aligns with their views and wishes regarding the subject. Their opinion is what matters to us.
Simon Moya-Smith, a journalist, and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation was among those explaining why wearing headdresses like these is offensive in an illuminating post on MTV.com around the time that Pharrell was taking heat for wearing one on the cover of Elle.
“The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one. It’s a spiritual garb, not just cultural; it’s not merely an addition to one’s attire. Wearing one, even an imitation headdress, belittles what our elders have spent a lifetime to earn.”
Naturally, all of the worst people you know are now complaining about how this violates their rights to self expression or whatever stupid argument you normally hear around such debates (like the Washington Redskins naming issue). But it’s interesting to see a big event like this take such a stand. Now if only we could get someone to make feathered crowns illegal we’d have most of the fashion faux pas of the past couple years covered.