In this episode of the Red Man Laughing Podcast we sit down with 3 founding members of the ReMatriate Campaign to talk about their grassroots campaign that brings voice to the opposition of the ongoing appropriation of their cultural identities.
In short, ReMatriate is a grassroots, Indigenous women led campaign to reclaim Indigenous identities. Ryan is joined by N’alaga (Avis O’Brien - Liwiłda’xw and Haida from Alert Bay, BC), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation from Old Crow, YT) and Kelly Edzerza Bapty (Tahltan of the Stikine River and Headwaters) and they cover topics from fashion & cultural appropriation, ReMatriating our communities, smashing patriarchy and why it is so important to look at the work of our elders & women before us to be informed about how to recenter the Women & Two Spirited in our communities.
ReMatriate Campaign Gallery
This gallery is a random selection of photos from the ReMatriate social media accounts. The photos are used with permission, have not been edited and full credit for each photo can be found at the ReMatriate Facebook Page.
*click on photos for lightbox gallery view
ReMATRIATE CAMPAIGN PRESS RELEASE IN RESPONSE TO THE DSqaw FASHION COLLECTION
In light of the recent DSquaw fashion collection at Milan Fashion Week by Toronto company DSquared, headed by Canadian born twins Dean and Dan Caten, our collective mission is to bring awareness to the callous use of the racialized term Squaw. It is unacceptable to misrepresent our identities in such a profoundly disrespectful way. This history of oppression and assimilation is not a far off history, and we are appalled that in this day and age anyone would feel that DSquaw is an appropriate word to use to name a collection.
Squaw is not a historical term used as an expression of indigenous women—it is a derogatory term that, at its core, is a tool of colonial oppression that embodies the rape and enslavement of the Indigenous woman. It is used as a way to classify her into ownership and dehumanize her. Our 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women indicate that we, as Indigenous women, are not in a position to be degraded or dehumanized.
In recognition of International Women’s Day, we are a group of Indigenous women from over 20 different First Nations across Canada who raise our collective voice. We are sisters, mothers, doctors, lawyers, singers, writers, fashion designers, models, artists, architects, and advocates. Some of us have been called “squaw.”
We are using this opportunity to cast shame upon Dsquared and other designers who appropriate our images and art, and who objectify and commodify our bodies and our culture. As Indigenous women our clothing and the knowledge of their making has been carried for generations through harsh conditions of assimilation. Our patterns and clothing tell a story, our story. We will use our collective cultural knowledge and celebrate our diversity, free from cheap tokenization and homogenization. We don’t want to be “included” in this discussion about who we are—we will lead it.