Christina Fallin, never one to shy away from a photo shoot, posed in a Native American headdress the evening of March 6.
It quickly made its way to her Instagram account. Many found this problematic because, well, 26-year-old Fallin is white and though her intention might have been tasteful artistic interpretation, many found it to be the opposite. Social media exploded. Then Buzzfeed took it national.
Feathered headdresses are a symbol of power and honor in traditional Native American culture, each feather earned for what are perceived to be brave and heroic actions by an individual — definitely not something to be mocked.
They are also reserved for men of the tribe. Fallin, also, is not a man. She is, however, a public figure, a musician and, oh, the daughter of Governor Mary Fallin.
Her Pink Pony — Now hey, does that band name come off as offensive to any of you? Think about it for a second — bandmate, Steven Battles, replied in public statement, in part, “Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things. We do so with the deepest respect.”
She titled the photo “Appropriate Culturation.” Is it, though?
Our community took to social media to voice its discontent.
“Christina Fallin’s first draft: ‘I’m sorry for being pretty and all you native people should like me because I look good in your heritage,’” @BaphometOKC snarkily tweeted.
“I’m really looking forward to Christina Fallin’s Purple Heart/ Sikh turban/priest’s collar phase,” said @alamokie.
Musician Ali Harder, @ali_harder, got more to the point: “Christina Fallin is sooooo grounded.”
On one hand, cultural sensitivity is something to be cherished. On the other, Fallin’s motives don’t appear to be malicious. But they are insensitive.