Company Says Indian Mascots Are Reason They Can Sell Headdresses
Sheena L. Roetman
Novum Crafts has more than 12,000 followers and 275 posts.
Most of their featured photographs appear to be re-grams, or re-posts, of other photographer’s work.
And – wait for it – all the photographs feature naked or scantily clad white women wearing headdresses.
Novum Crafts, according to its website, is a group of indigenous artists from Bali who make and sell “authentic looking replicas” of Native American headdresses, or war bonnets, which sell from $69 to $139.
There a couple pages on the website that address cultural appropriation and the meaning of a headdress. The example of the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s co-signing of the Florida State Seminole mascot, as well as Saginaw Chippewa’s now-revoked permission for Central Michigan University to use Native mascots, are specifically cited in these explanations.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington NFL team are all also specifically identified and used as justification for appropriation.
The site explains that the teams that use this imagery are simply “implying: ‘We will win! We are the braves, we are chiefs, we will fight until you are defeated.’ How is it offensive to attribute such desirable characteristics of bravery, valor, honor and courage to known objects or symbols from the Native Americans?”
On the company’s Facebook page – which has significantly less followers than its Instagram account at 742 – the Gothenberg Opera in Sweden’s production “Crazy For You” by George and Ira Gershwin is recently featured as having ordered custom red, white and blue headdresses for the performance.
Novum Crafts also sells dream catchers [which run from $19 to 24], bone breastplates and chokers [from $29 to 59] and carved buffalo, cow and ram skulls [$250 to $450], as well as leather bags [$49 to 59], some of which appear to be modeled after medicine bags, and most with fringe and beadwork.
There are also cowboy hats for $59. In the website’s FAQ section, the business owners say they use “real feathers and authentic leather.”
“If you wear a headdress, wear it with pride,” it reads on Novum’s website. “Then, you are aligning yourself with the ‘sacred’ history.”
Indian Country Today reached out to Novum Crafts for comment, but did not receive a response.