Rachel Lorin officially appropriating part one

If there’s one thing that Indigenous people can count on from a number of non-Natives it’s cultural appropriation. Despite countless examples of how offensive such a practice is, there are still those who disregard that respect and do it anyway. The average person can often fly under the radar anywhere else online, but when it comes to #NativeTwitter, such transgressions don’t.

Take Rachel Lorin, apparently an up and coming singer, who chose to spend five hours with her mom making a mockery version of a headdress and post a couple of photos wearing it topless. Her initial post garnered a number of positive feedback from her followers – including one Twitter use who replied with, “Come home to our tee pee my squaw”

Meanwhile others actually understood how wrong this was and spoke up.

There might have been confusion on the non-Native side of the conversation when it was clear to many of us that Brett was giving some very fair advice. Take it down before the rest of us saw it. Not only did she refuse, …a lot of us started seeing it and were not pleased.

Rachel Lorin had an opportunity to do the right thing and opted to double down on the disrespect while playing victim and calling it, ‘homage’ and ‘respect’ and ‘love’ of Native culture.

Not bothering to consider that there are over 570 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. and some that are not recognized. There are Indigenous peoples in Canada, the U.S., Central and South Americans, all with beautiful and diverse cultures, yet Rachel Lorin seemed to see us as a homogeneous group in which we would somehow see what she did in wearing a mockery headdress as ‘honoring’ all of us. Like we haven’t heard that a thousand times between people like her and those who think Native mascots ‘honor’ us as well.

Some of her followers fully supported that sentiment as evidenced here with a sampling of ignorant followers taking the lead from Rachel in how Indigenous peoples should somehow let a non-Native dictate to us how we should feel about her appropriation.

Here’s one of those ‘I’m Native and I’m not offended’ folk who like to give other non-Natives a ‘pass’ on appropriation and racism.

And then, predictably, much of #NativeTwitter began to see it and comment on it.

Many of us tried to help by pointing out previous instances, suggestions to google and research, but no. Rachel Lorin and her followers didn’t seem to want to listen or care.

After much education and suggestions, Rachel Lorin still seemed to refuse any acknowledgement of her fetishization of Northern Plains culture. Thus continued further helpful education that seemingly went ignored.

 

She did eventually delete the original post. And then, after an exhausting hours parade of attempted education on the behalf of Natives, not only did Rachel post a photo again–

–only to take it down after further backlash, this is what she posted on Twitter (click and read the comments if you get a moment too):

Quite a few Natives and allies were blocked and some shared screencaps when they discovered it.

There were plenty more instances of Natives offering education to someone who seemed determined not to listen.

While Rachel eventually did remove the second photo from her Twitter, it was still on her Instagram, Facebook Page and Facebook profile.

I tried to engage with her Instagram and this was our conversation. At the end, I had pointed out that we, Natives, were 2% of the population in the U.S., to which she lol’d at it and said, “lol you are 2%… yet I show love and praise to the beautiful culture AND the people. You will not remain 2% if you keep trying to troll people respecting your culture.”

There’s many issues with this sentiment. It mocks Native genocide, it implies agreement or support of it and suggests that we, at 2%, could or should vanish.

Another Indigenous woman had messaged with Rachel on Instagram and this was part of their conversation.

In a different exchange between myself and Rachel, I was getting pegged by her fans in some anti-Indigenous and racist sentiment, fueled by her insistence that she did nothing wrong. After she complained about it being 2am and wanting to song-write, Rachel blocked me. For a brief period of time, her Twitter was protected and doesn’t seem to be at the moment. She has not, at least, re-posted those offensive photos.

There is an Instagram conversation to which deserves its own post and that will be forthcoming. Her views about how Indigenous peoples need to view her actions does not seem to have changed, nor does it seem likely that it will.

Conclusion?

Written by: AliW
You can follow me on Twitter: @aliwatson117

Here is a gallery of select posts or replies made by Rachel as well as some by her followers. Predictably, there’s one referencing Rachel as ‘Pocohantas’. Posts and replies won’t all be in lineal timeline.

Update 8/7/18:

Updated article to clarify that Rachel blocked me and did not delete her Instagram. First time I’d been blocked, so that wasn’t clear to me. -Ali

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