American Indians Protest Flaming Lips Lead Singer Wayne Coyne for Disrespecting Regalia & Attacks on Native People

Protesters at Flaming Lips Waterfront Concert in Portland, Oregon on Sunday

Protesters at Flaming Lips Waterfront Concert in Portland, Oregon on Sunday

PORTLAND, OREGON – Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country protested Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne at the MLS All-Star concert held in Portland Sunda, August 3, 2014. In April, Native people called upon Coyne to apologize for joining Gov. Mary Fallin’s daughter’s band Pink Pony which incited a crowd at a music festival in hateful responses towards peaceful Native protestors and for supporting her by posting photos of a dog and groupies in a faux Plains-style eagle feather headdress on Instagram.

EONM will also be protesting Ted Nugent’s concert in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at the Portland Expo Center. Nugent has not only been wearing Native regalia but also called Native people “unclean vermin” who aren’t real people after his August 4th concert was cancelled by the Coeur d’Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho citing Nugent’s “racist attitudes and views.”

In The Oregonian Monday,

“The protesters, led by Portland activist Jacqueline Keeler, stood outside the Waterfront Park during opening act Radiation City’s set, but at least two held signs during the Flaming Lips’ performance as the concert was broadcast online worldwide.

A woman holding a sign reading ‘Lips frontman Wayne Coyne disrespects Native Americans’ was escorted out of the concert by security, while another was spoken to mid-set by a man who appeared to be a backstage crew member and put his sign away.

A Major League Soccer representative did not immediately return a request for comment.”

Organizer and EONM founder Jacqueline Keeler (Navajo/Yankton Sioux) told the Reddirt Report that, “Coyne’s actions ‘may play in Oklahoma– it does not in the Pacific Northwest.’” She further elaborated:

“I don’t get why understanding why misappropriating our culture is wrong is such a difficult concept to grasp. Stunning how it goes to hatefulness towards Native people so quickly. The stereotypes that this form of minstrelry promotes prevent real understanding of Native people today. It pigeonholes us into static images from the past and allows continued theft of not only our culture and our image but more concretely, of our land, of our children and of our sovereignty as nations within the United States.”

Studies have shown that the use of Native people as mascots reduces Native youth self-esteem. Native youth have the highest rates of suicide in the country–three times that of other ethnic group in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. The American Psychological Association has issued aResolution recommending the retirement of American Indian Mascots. Native people are the most vulnerable population in the country, and the misappropriation and stereotyping done only for entertainment purposes must end.

The group EONM has led national efforts to stop the misuse of Native culture and “Redface” as well as the use of Native people as mascots in sports taking on the Washington NFL football team and Chief Wahoo. They protested Nike World headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon in April for sale of Chief Wahoo products and recently got the SF Giants to agree to ban regalia from MLB games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.

As Keeler noted in her article for XOJane about Pharrell’s recent misappropriation of her people’s regalia,

“The headdress represents our leaders who were hunted down and murdered by the U.S. military. It is not a fashion accessory. It is an honor and a symbol of the sovereignty of the Plains tribes and the authority vested in the people to choose their own leaders. It should only be worn in circumstances that a head of state would participate in as a representative of these nations.

There are photos at the Smithsonian of my ancestor Owl Man wearing his headdress when he met President Andrew Johnson at the White House in 1868. As a Dakota, I would never presume to wear this regalia and even tribal members who have been so honored would never wear it on the cover of a fashion magazine.”


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