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WAYNE'S WORLD: Native American appropriation continues unabated

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In this image taken at the recent Wakarusa music festival in Arkansas, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne (in Slim Goodbody suit) participates
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- This weekend, hundreds of Native Americans gathered in Oklahoma City for the historic Red Earth Festival, celebrating not only Native history, but Native futures as well.

Meanwhile, at the Wakarusa Festival on Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas, hundreds of mostly Caucasian hipsters, many in mocking Native headdresses themselves, gathered as Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne continued his “artistic” assault on the American Indian by having a man dressed in Native regalia on-stage.

The Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival, featuring four days of music and activities for people of all ages, has gained in popularity, especially for Oklahomans, considering how close it is to the Sooner State.

While eyewitness reports have been scattered, the most consistent anecdotes from attendees have been that this was all part of an on-stage wedding. Why the male needed to be in the warbonnet to be married is still anyone’s guess, but what is perhaps the most perplexing question to many Natives who’ve seen the photos is, if Coyne was serious about his label-mandated Rolling Stone apology (and many activists believe he truly wasn’t), why would he continue to add fuel to an already raging fire by allowing something like this on-stage?

The reaction from Indigenous activists on Twitter and Facebook has been one of continued hurt, disappointment and burgeoning anger, while many fans of the offensive rockers continue to defend the antics of the crackpot Coyne and crew under the guise of “art.”

“Maybe Coyne thinks he is the only one that can disrespect Natives and be the best at it? I don't know, but his apathy and lies know no bounds,” civil rights activist Jennie Stockle posted on social media. “I'm sure he will claim ‘innocence’ by blaming the headdress being on stage with him on that person wearing it. However, it is HIS show and knowing full well how Native Americans feel, he could have not allowed it to be on stage. He could have easily forbid it during his performance. The truth is he didn't give a second thought to the example he set to his young fans or harm he is doing to Native Americans and their honored family members.”

“Folks, Wayne Coyne is a liar and has now commonly engaged in racism against Native Americans to boost his own name-infamously so,” she added.

Local Native American activist Frances Danger, along with the civil rights group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, have been in talks with SOCM, a Tennessee-based civil rights organization and a partner of the Bonnaroo Music Festival, which is also hosting the Lips’ next high profile gig.

Dedicated to being watchdogs on the lookout for racial stereotypes and negative portrayals of low-income and minority communities, Danger said that SOCM immediately responded to her and she is currently in talks with the group, who are conversely in talks with Bonnaroo about Coyne’s recent spate of anti-Native American actions, all of which has been covered in-depth here on Red Dirt Report.

Frances said that SOCM’s willingness and openness to discuss these issues, ones that Bonnaroo itself has become notorious for, gives her hope that the trend of hipster Native appropriating might soon become a thing of the past, something that her daughter won’t have to deal with herself in the future.

As to how this will be handled, and, even worse, how Coyne and his lackeys will follow-up on this new act of aggression, is yet to be seen, but RDR will continue to report on this story as it happens.

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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