Christina Fallin, in Her Own Words: 'I'm Tired of the Misinformation'
By Wilhelm Murg
If I had known it would incite hate and division, I would have avoided posting it, but I was and still am genuine about my appreciation of Native American culture and I was in no way meaning to disrespect it or offend people. Our band is something we do for fun and as a creative release. We do not sell our music. Music is a fun hobby.
What do you think about all of this now that you have my side of the story?
I understand what you are saying, and the debate over cultural appropriation is many shades of gray rather than simply black and white, but I don't know that you've said anything that will change the minds of our readers. I understand that you are unapologetic because you feel you have done nothing wrong, but there are a lot of people out there who will still feel hurt. I "get" that you were in a photo shoot, you put something on, and had your picture taken, and that started spiraling out of control, but you come across as not caring that people "chose" to be offended by it--and I don't know that being offended is always a choice.
You don't think they'll care that I didn't do a war dance nor wear a Native American styled shawl? Because that's the issue that brought us together here today. I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings intentionally and I was not trying to hurt people’s feelings intentionally by posting a picture with the headdress; that's my point. I am very genuine about the connection I feel to Oklahoma and Native American culture. For the people who were genuinely hurt, I am sorry because that was never my intention. I also wasn't in a photo shoot--that was someone else's photo shoot that I was present at.
Thanks for clearing up the bit about the photo shoot. I don't know if you've said you were sorry before, but if you did, it never seemed to get in the articles.
Well I don't typically talk to anyone--typically it's best to remain less detailed and let it ride out, but I'm tired of all of the misinformation. No one takes the time like you did today to genuinely retrieve information.
Do you understand that Natives consider this a violation of their culture? That they consider it a crime akin to theft, not merely an "offense" that hurt someone's feelings?
In other words, were their feelings real or not, in your opinion?
Are you aware that there are many Native cultures, not just one? That most of them don't wear headdresses? That a Plains headdress doesn't represent Oklahoma's tribes? That the headdress is an extremely common stereotype with literally millions of examples?
By your own admission, you've never heard of "cultural appropriation" or "regalia"--two common concepts among Natives. What exactly do you know about Natives, if anything? What's the difference between you and every ignorant American who thinks "Native culture" is a teepee and a headdress?
Given that fact, how can you possibly argue that you care about Natives or their culture(s)? You didn't learn the simple concept of regalia or listen to them when they explained it. Instead, you told them off, thumbed your nose at them. You asserted that your wishes trumped their concerns. Do you understand how that came across as the epitome of white privilege and arrogance?
Who's the sheep?
Who are some of these yellow journalists and what facts did they get wrong? From what you've said in this interview, most of the criticism you've received was apt. Give us some examples of mistakes made by journalists covering this story.
I trust you're not referring to a trivial detail like someone giving you the headdress vs. your choosing it on your own. Because that's irrelevant. The issue is how you didn't listen when Natives asked you to take down the photo. If you had done that immediately, the controversy would've gone away then.
At the very least, you were insensitive to the protesters' feelings, right? Because people who see a message waved at them rightly assume it's for them. Do you at least admit they made an obvious and understandable connection that you were too self-absorbed and clueless to get?
You say you care about Native feelings. Whether you're responsible for Coyne's actions or not, tell us how you feel about them. Was he right or wrong to mock Natives in person and on Instagram?
If you're not willing to criticize him, why shouldn't Natives assume that you support him? Again, the issue is how much you care about Natives. If you care at all, you'll stand up for them and denounce Coyne's actions.
Fallin blind to privilege
A commenter on this posting sums up the problems with Fallin's responses pretty well:
I posted some items about Cher in my blog and on Facebook and Twitter. As far as I'm concerned, all wrongdoers in this area are equally wrong. But most people ignored my postings.
I can only surmise the different response is due to Fallin's youth, her claim of respecting Natives, and her obvious lack of remorse. Cher's been doing this for 40 years and the setting is a concert where showmanship is prized. People may think she's too old and set in her ways to change.
The Village People and Ted Nugent also have misused headdresses and also have received less criticism than Fallin. My response is that Cher and the others deserve more criticism, not that Fallin deserves less. Plenty of people in her position--Karlie Kloss, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum, et al.--have received similar criticism, and rightly so.
So Fallin made one or two good points. Other than that, it's like Murg said. None of her arguments will change anyone's minds. That's because her arguments have huge holes, as noted above.
For more on Christina Fallin, see Drummer Fired for Criticizing Fallin and Christina Fallin Calls Natives "Sheep."