Headdresses banned from Merritt music festival out of respect to First Nations

Published: July 29, 2014
Merritt music festival

Organizers of this weekend’s Bass Coast Festival in Merritt are asking attendees not to bring any native headdresses out of respect for First Nations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kim Wheeler

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

An electronic music festival this B.C. Day long weekend in Merritt has banned native headdresses from its campgrounds.

“Bass Coast Festival is banning feathered war bonnets, or anything resembling them, on-site,” says a posting on the organizers’ Facebook page. “Our security team will be enforcing this policy throughout the festival,” which takes place Aug. 1- 4.

“We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets,” the posting continues. “They have a magnificent esthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and esthetic significance cannot be separated.”

According to Bass Coast spokesman Paul Brooks, the ban is something organizers have been hoping to put in place for the past year.

“This year it was a priority,” he told Vancouver Desi. “It’s something that the core Bass Coast team feels strongly about.”

The music festival originally started out in Squamish, but outgrew the location and moved to Merritt’s Nicola Valley, which is located on indigenous land.

“When we moved to Merritt and we started having a relationship with the community and certain First Nations bands … in the area, we decided that this is something that we had to implement,” said Brooks. “It’s an issue of respect to them and Aboriginal people across Canada.”

And while Brooks admits that festival goers likely aren’t sporting the fashion accessory with malicious intent, “when you look at the spiritual and cultural significance of the headdress, it’s actually disrespectful we feel, and ultimately dehumanizing, so we don’t want that happening at our festival site, or at any of our events for that matter.”

According to Brooks, if attendees are seen wearing the war bonnet this weekend, they’ll be approached by a security supervisor, who will educate them on the matter and simply ask them to leave it in their car or tent.

While a number of other fashion statements and trends have come under fire for their cultural appropriations — like the Hindu bindi, recently sported by celebrities and concertgoers alike at California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — Brooks said the Bass Coast ban is “extremely specific” to the native headdress.

“Nothing else is on the table at this point — we haven’t been approached by anybody citing these as things they would like us to consider,” he said. “This issue is very specific to the headdress and to the war bonnet for us and has everything to do with our location, our relationship with the community and also the feelings of the team that puts on the festival.”

Bass Coast has been applauded for their stance — the July 23 Facebook post alone has been shared more than 520 times and liked by more than 1,500 people.

“It resonated not only with our community but festivalgoers and, you know, music lovers … around the world,” said Brooks. “It’s about respecting our neighbours as well as Canada’s Aboriginal people.”

lcahute@theprovince.com

twitter.com/larissacahute

Related Stories:


Tags: , , , , , , , ,





Featured

attack on Parliament Hill

Soldier, gunman who died in Ottawa rampage identified (w/photos, video) [updated]

ANDREW DUFFY OTTAWA CITIZEN Updates at 5:10 p.m. Soldier killed in War Memorial confirmed as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Suspect, reportedly Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed in Centre Block shootout Police call situation…
Continue Reading »

Parliament gunman shot

Shaken Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims calling from scene of Parliament shooting (w/photos, video)

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims and their New Democrat colleagues were in a party caucus meeting in Ottawa…
Continue Reading »

LIBERTY MEDAL

Stephen Harper cancels Malala Yousafzai citizenship ceremony in light of Ottawa shooting

THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office says two scheduled events today in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Parliament hill

Narendra Modi condemns ‘extremely disturbing’ Ottawa shootout

IANS New Delhi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Wednesday’s shootout near the Canadian parliament in Ottawa as “extremely disturbing”. “News of the attack in…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Soldier, gunman who died in Ottawa rampage identified (w/photos, video) [updated]

ANDREW DUFFY OTTAWA CITIZEN Updates at 5:10 p.m. Soldier killed in War Memorial confirmed as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo Suspect, reportedly Canadian-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed in Centre Block shootout Police call situation…
Continue Reading »

Parliament gunman shot

Shaken Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims calling from scene of Parliament shooting (w/photos, video)

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW OTTAWA — Surrey MPs Jasbir Sandhu, Jinny Sims and their New Democrat colleagues were in a party caucus meeting in Ottawa…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Butter Chicken

Light up Diwali with this delicious dinner: Butter Chicken, Basmati Rice with Peas, Chickpea Masala and Gulab Jamun

Indian festival is a fine reason for a feast BAL ARNESON POSTMEDIA NEWS Diwali is India’s biggest festival. People light candles and divas (small Indian…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-WILDLIFE-ELEPHANT

Heartbreaking photos of two elephants electrocuted in India

IANS Siliguri – Two elephants, including a female, were electrocuted in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district Saturday, an official said. The tuskers were found in a…
Continue Reading »

Aman Grewal

Gallery: Army officer’s wife wins Mrs. India Worldwide pageant

IANS New Delhi – Aman Grewal, wife of an army officer, was declared the winner of Haut.Monde Mrs.India Worldwide 2014 here. Grewal, who hails from…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Saif Ali Khan poses with pants down

IANS New Delhi – Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan was caught and clicked with his pants down while shooting for his new film “Happy Ending”. As…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt says ‘Going Home’ a special short film

IANS Mumbai – If the masses loved her in movies like “Highway” and “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”, Alia Bhatt has again won many a heart….
Continue Reading »