A shop clerk's response to a Native American woman protesting the sale of culturally appropriated items has drawn caustic debate online.
A Lakota woman confronted the clerk in Albuquerque, New Mexico when she happened upon racist T-shirts and Native American headdresses at the Mercado Gift shop located at the Hyatt in downtown Albuquerque.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” the woman says during a cell phone video she shot.
“I’m coming to bring this to you,” she says to the clerk. “I don’t appreciate seeing any of this shit here.”
The Lakota woman, who was in town for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium at the convention center, tells the clerk that the display and sale of culturally appropriated items in the store is “disgusting.”
“I do not want any of those up on that wall. If I could grab them I would take them down, too,” she said. “This is disgusting, this is disgusting. This is a part of my people’s heritage," she said referring to the headdress.
According to the Lakota woman in the video, also on sale were culturally insensitive T-shirts including one that read, “My Indian Name Is Runs-With-Beer.”
The Lakota woman soon turns her attention back to the headdresses.
“You’re living on our land," she tells the clerk. "That’s our people’s things,” she said.
The clerk responds by saying one headdress was "made by a Navajo."
Then, seemingly trying to justify the sale of the items, the clerk brazenly told the Lakota woman, “Hey, you lost the war, friend. I’m sorry.”
A collective gasp and reactions of disbelief can be heard in the background coming from other shop-goers.
Online, people are both applauding and chastising the Lakota woman.
One person who commented on the KRQE website said the Lakota woman caused the "poor clerk to be visibly upset."
Another came to the Lakota woman's defense and said, "If people knew (or our schools taught ) more about our violent histories maybe they would not sell or say stupid things that are so offensive and conduct themselves with more class."
The clerk later told KRQE News 13 the headdress was valued at $800 and that the Lakota woman damaged it during the confrontation. The Lakota woman does not have to pay for the damages, KRQE News reported.
The store has since pulled several of the offensive T-shirts off the shelves.