Every music festival has different regulations and rules in regards to what you can wear: Ultra Music Festival banned facial masks and totems, and Mad Decent Block Party banned kandi altogether. Now, Electric Forest is taking a stand against cultural appropriation by banning American Indian headdresses from the 2016 edition of the festival.
The forest festival—which will take place from June 23-26, 2016— has also stated that no threatening signs or clothing will be allowed onto the festival grounds. In their general guidelines, festival co-creators Madison House and Insomniac Events stated, “At Electric Forest, all should feel safe, comfortable, and welcome”.
“How exactly does wearing headdresses constitute cultural appropriation,” you might ask. For those who are unsure of what it means, Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of manitow-sâkahikan offers an in-depth explanation as to why it is disrespectful for non-natives to wear these headpieces. Put simply, a headdress is traditionally restricted to only be worn by high-ranking native men of the Plains nations. For anyone else to wear it would be the equivalent of an ordinary citizen wearing, say, a military medal that they did nothing to deserve.
To truly celebrate Native American culture in a manner that is not offensive, people are encouraged to wear moccasins or mukluks, as they are unrestricted articles of clothing that can be worn by anyone who appreciates the culture. Although only Electric Forest has banned headdresses so far, it is highly recommended not to wear them to any festivals, as cultural disrespect should not be praised. Let us stand together in appreciating Native American culture by protecting what is theirs and correctly honoring them in the ways in which we can.