A couple of weeks ago, I drew attention to how obsessed Urban Outfitters is with the term “Navajo” to represent a catch-all stereotypical southwest/plains asthetic. Then this week, reader Julia sent me a link to the Anthropologie website, with several “Native” inspired pieces. The one that caught my eye was the “Haida Poncho,” shown above.
I just thought it was interesting, given we recently discussed Miss Canada’s horrific “Homage to Haida,” that Haida keeps popping up, rather than the typical Navajo or Cherokee.
First of all, this poncho is made by Pendleton, but is part of their “Portland Collection”–the hipster cool line that I’ve written about before. I went to both the Pendleton site and the Portland Collection site, and couldn’t find anything with the name “Haida.”
After the Urban post, a few readers pointed out to me that the products were not named “Navajo” on the original brands’ sites, meaning Urban had added the name on later. Pendleton is generally pretty accurate with their descriptions, linking them to the correct tribe or community where the design originated, so I was surprised that they would call this southwest mess a “Haida” poncho. It makes sense that it may have been a branding choice by Anthro.
Oh, did I mention Anthro and Urban (as well as Free People) are all under the same parent company? Cause they are. Surprise, surprise.
So, if you were wondering what a Haida poncho would look like, here’s an example, made by the incredible Dorthy Grant, a Haida designer:
A little different, right? Here is where we pause and talk about how harmful this is to smash completely different cultural groups into one stereotyped “Native American Design.” This erases out existence as diverse, living, and contemporary communities, and furthers the stereotype that there is only one type of “Indian”–the plains warrior that died out long long ago.
But you know what I thought of instantly when I saw the poncho? Wednesday Addams in the Thanksgiving Pageant:
Look, I made Wednesday a new outfit!
UPDATE 10/11: A commenter pointed out that the website has changed the name from “Haida Poncho” to “Ashcreek Poncho”! Though some other third party sites are still calling it “Haida.” A definite step in the right direction, and pretty awesome if we had anything to do with it!