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How The Campaign Against Cultural Appropriation Came Back to Haunt Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

The debate over cultural appropriation isn’t unique to Canada. But my country does seem to have a particular sensitivity to the issue—especially when it comes to white people allegedly appropriating elements of Indigenous culture. And in recent days, the phenomenon has broken new ground entirely, with a high-profile controversy involving alleged appropriation taking place entirely within Canada’s Indigenous communities.

The Indigenous Music Awards (IMAs) are part of the larger Manito Ahbee Festival in Winnipeg, a gathering that “celebrates Indigenous culture and heritage to unify, educate, and inspire.” Conceived as a Juno Awards for Canada’s First Nations people, these awards do not focus solely on traditional music, but feature a broad range of categories such as Best Blues Album, Best Music Video, and Best International Indigenous Release. Because Canada’s Indigenous music scene is still a niche sector within the larger Canadian music industry (which is itself tiny compared to its American counterpart), the Indigenous Music Awards typically pass under the radar of most Canadians. But not this year—thanks to Cree artist Cikwes, who’s been nominated in the Best Folk Album category for her album ISKO.

Cikwes is the stage name of Connie LeGrande, a fluent Cree speaker who identifies as Nehiyaw (a sub-group of Cree). She describes her musical background as “rooted in Woodland Cree traditions, with creative influences ranging from throat singing, jazz, soul, [R&B] and reggae.” She sings in both English and Cree. Like the many other artists who find inspiration in multiple styles and genres, LeGrande transforms disparate influences into something completely original. This includes a form of throat singing, an art traditionally practiced by Inuit people in Canada’s north.

Canada’s Indigenous peoples comprise hundreds of distinct communities. These communities tend to self-classify in several broad categories, of which the Inuit are one. Another large category is First Nations, which includes the Cree. And it is in this distinction that the current controversy is rooted.

Five Inuit artists, including Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq, have lobbied both LeGrande and the event organizers to pull IKSO from the folk music category—on the claim that LeGrande, being First Nations, is guilty of culturally appropriating a distinctive Inuit art form. So far, both LeGrande and the organizers have refused to give in, which has led Tagaq and others to boycott the IMAs. Tiffany Ayalik and her sister Kayley Mackay, who perform as the duo PIQSIQ, withdrew their album Altering the Timeline from consideration in the Best Electronic Music Album category, telling the CBC that “We came to the IMAs with the concern about cultural appropriation in one of the categories. There is a non-Inuk [singular of Inuit] singer who is appropriating Inuit throat singing. It’s very insensitive and wrong to have an organisation like the IMAs celebrating an artist who isn’t Inuk, who isn’t doing it properly, and who isn’t doing it with the respect and the context and the history that should be informing throat singing.”

Throat singing is a distinctive vocal style that, in Canada, originated as a form of competition between Inuk women. Traditionally, two women arranged in a face-to-face formation would chant short syllables and sounds that often mimicked animals and birds until the loser ran out of air and faltered. Variations of the practice are performed in Mongolia and Tibet—where it sometimes is referred to as “overtone singing.” As with many Indigenous cultural practices, the history of throat singing is tied up with colonial attempts to assimilate Indigenous peoples: The practice was at one point banned outright by Christian missionaries, but has enjoyed a renaissance in recent decades as Indigenous peoples reclaim their traditions. Tagaq herself won the prestigious Polaris Prize for her 2014 album Animism, a record based largely on Inuk throat singing. Ayalik has called throat singing a radical act of political defiance, as well as a way to connect with her sister.

Before going public with their concerns, PIQSIQ and Tagaq apparently first contacted LeGrande privately last month. According to the Toronto Star, LeGrande—who was first inspired to throat sing after watching a Tagaq performance—took the issue seriously, going so far as to consult the elders in her community, Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta. The Star reports that these elders encouraged her to pursue the musical style, explaining that such an art is a gift from the Creator, and that narrow notions of cultural ownership are the product of a colonial European mindset.

I am a white musician who has no personal stake in this controversy. But I do have an interest in the unsettling trends within the larger Canadian music industry that have led to this moment, some of which I described in a 2018 article for Quillette. In that article, I described how Canada’s cultural funding bodies have indirectly encouraged a race-focused approach to music creation. These programs appear well-intentioned on the surface, but they have the inevitable effect of fracturing identity groups into smaller and smaller sub-categories. Observers have been warning that this increased siloing effect would hurt the people it was intended to help, and it is unfortunate to see them proven right.

The idea of segregating musical styles by race sits in opposition to what we know about the way music is made—which is often through cultural cross-pollination. The guitar as we recognize it today was first created in the United States as an evolution of designs that had been developed in Europe since the Middle Ages in the form of mandolins and other stringed instruments. In time, the instrument was taken up by freed American slaves, who combined traditional spirituals, work songs and field calls with African rhythmic structures and melodic influences from Euro-American folk music. The blues were born, laying the foundation for most of the popular musical genres of the 20th century and beyond. Everything you hear on the radio today is a product of these endless forms of “cultural appropriation.”

Elvis Presley grew up poor in Tupelo, Mississippi before moving to Memphis. Both places had large African-American populations. His signature sound combined country music with sounds and styles he heard from his African American neighbours. It was this new fusion that brought out white audiences in droves, and eventually helped open the door for black artists who’d been cut off from mass audiences by racist music-industry gatekeepers.

The Rolling Stones were often accused of ripping off black artists when developing their British fusion of blues, R&B and 60s rock. But there is a blurry line between appropriation and homage. And it’s notable that the Stones frequently supported, and collaborated with, the black artists who’d inspired them. Similarly, members of Talking Heads participated in various multi-racial 1980s incarnations featuring musicians who’d inspired their own work. Even in the contemporary Canadian scene, the unique style of artists such as Lido Pimienta has emerged through a fusion of styles. Pimienta’s success as a solo act likely is at least partly rooted in her early years singing in heavy metal and hardcore bands in Colombia before finding her niche in Canada.

In music—as in most other areas of the arts—there is never a truly new thing. Everything is, to some extent, a mash-up of things that came before. To suggest that artists should stay in their lane, ethnic or otherwise, is effectively to demand an end to new forms of music.

As noted, LeGrande has refused to pull her album from the awards, in spite of the pressure being applied. “I don’t know how such a beautiful experience has turned into such an evil thing,” she told the Star. LeGrande should be applauded for taking this position. But she likely will pay a price for doing so. Canada’s music community is a small place; the field of Indigenous music yet smaller. Her stance likely will have serious repercussions for her career, especially when she next seeks a government grant. And so I would urge other artists to stand with her in solidarity—because while she will pay 100% of the price for hewing to principle, the benefits associated with stemming the tide of cultural-appropriation accusations would be shared by all musicians.

While the Indigenous Music Awards has stuck by Le Grande, its public statements have been far from definitive. Instead, they have vaguely declared that they “don’t presume to agree or disagree on this matter at this time, as it requires great reflection, ceremony and discussions on how we move forward in a good way, to ensure that we as Indigenous people uphold our teachings, and do not provide a platform for negativity and separation.” And so it is reasonable to fear that, ultimately, the battle might be won by the side that kicks up the biggest fuss on social media. Which suggests that now is a good time for Canadian musicians seeking greater artistic freedom to make their views known.

For generations, Indigenous peoples in Canada have been under cultural assault by assimilationist governments. It is sad and ironic that the latest hurdle to spreading their unique cultures hasn’t been put up by white politicians, missionaries or bureaucrats, but by Indigenous people themselves.

Neil Gray is an independent musician, producer and writer from Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @sawthedust. His previous articles for Quillette include The Purity Spiral of Canada’s Music Industry.

Featured image: Tanya Tagaq performs at the Festival Barroquísimo in Puebla, Mexico, in 2010.


  1. Peter from Oz says

    It seems that cultural appropriation is only ever a problem when the thing appropriated is from a weaker culture. The fact that this singer also uses English idoms and western music is not seen to be cultural appropriation by the whining left.
    Like ”islamophobia” ”cultural appropriation” is a meaningless and nasty corruption of the language.
    I propose that anyone who uses the term ”cultural appropriation” seriously is immediately to be laughed at and told not to be silly.

    • Daz says

      P f oz

      Your point that cultural appropriation is a meaningless and nasty corruption of language is spot on. I often wonder if the alleged act even existed in people’s minds before someone came up with the that soundbite, like the term “political correctness”
      PiqSiq sound like they may have appropriated Western electronic music, I think Kaftwork may have grounds to sue.

      • Allison says

        I agree. Someone just thought up the term and then taught it as a “truth.” People, especially young people, have swallowed this whole, no questions asked. It’s also a way to act morally superior to others.

    • That’s spot on. “Cultural appropriation” is one of the silliest notions ever; “micro-aggression” is a close rival.
      The advice of the Bigstone Cree elders is right on the money.

    • Michael Podles says

      The “regressive left” who come up with terms and dogmas like this are the cause of the unhealthy move of global populations to the right and even extreme right. It’s all very well to be politically correct but let’s call things what they are and not be afraid to have discussions with all sides. I am a left leaning gay man but I am sick of the extremes of political correctness and I am sick of the label of islamophobia being applied to anyone who criticises anything about the dogmas of Islam.

  2. Grant says

    As the old saying goes, we’re drawfs standing on the shoulder giants. I have a friend who is Japanese and he loves, plays and sings the blues quite well. By virtue of his talent and his humanity he has expanded the genre of blue like countess people before him. I know many people like this a woman who plays Eastern European folk music, old white guy who plays the blues, Chinese woman who plays Chopin and Beethoven. Mien friend who plays American gospel and rock. Let me extend a hearty F you to all the people who think sharing art, culture, cooking, clothing and lifestyle is somehow a sin. It’s quite the opposite; it makes everyone richer, wiser and kinder and most importantly makes each individual who chooses to incorporate these disparate cultures into their own lives fuller and more beautiful.

    • kamakirinoko says

      I resent being called a “Drawf.” Drawfs are the poorer cousins of Dwarves (or “Dwarfs,” as they prefer to be called by people other than Dwarves) and I suggest that you do your homework before throwing about misappropriated cultural references that are clearly outside your non-Drawfian frames of visionship.

      Get a non Drawfian life!

      • Grant says

        Well I can’t edit it but maybe should have said we’re like Cedalion, standing on the shoulder of Orion, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it and sadly Orion was blind.

    • Pierre Pendre says

      I’ve regretted the absence of an editing function here but drawfs makes it worthwhile. Swonwhite wouldn’t have been without hers.

  3. Morgan Foster says

    Tribes were fighting each other before Europeans ever appeared. Not surprising it’s still going on.

  4. Saw file says

    A very good article and a concise breakdown of a bizarre cultural clash amongst a segment of the CDN aboriginal contingent.
    The only “Indians” who even remotely give a gopher’s crap about any of this nonsense, are those who have been ‘educated’ (indoctrinated) in the ideology of the multi-intersectional ism blender/separator hierarchy of blah.blah.blah.aaarghhh….ad nauseum…
    I am hopeful that once the C.O.W. conclude their self-cannibalization, reality and rationality will again assume their rightful place in the modern history and progression of mankind.

    It more and more seems that “progressive” is ceasing to be a literal word, in certain spheres.

  5. You cannot ‘appropriate’ something from someone if that person can still use it.

    “Narrow notions of cultural ownership are the product of a colonial European mindset.”
    Unfortunately not. The mindset is much newer and much more widespread than that.

    • Etiamsi omnes says

      “John” is a corruption of the Hebrew name Yohanan. It was not meant to be borne by Christians and other Goyim and therefore constitutes cultural appropriation. You are to change your name forthwith.

  6. Morgan Foster says

    I had no idea that little black dresses were historically correct for Woodland Cree women.

    • Serenity says

      Morgan Foster,

      Accusation in cultural appropriation does not work both ways. Unless of course you are racist.

  7. Jay Salhi says

    “For generations, Indigenous peoples in Canada have been under cultural assault by assimilationist governments.”

    How is tribalism working out for the indigenous peoples?

  8. Disgusted says

    We need a new award “white cuck of the month award”. This would be awarded to the most spineless act during the month committed by a white person who panders or promotes PC stupidity.

    • Ray Andrews says


      That’s a good idea. Or perhaps the next time someone is accused of Appropriation they will smile, refuse to apologize, and play on.

      • Disgusted says

        Yes. I have taken to saying Thank you when I am accused of cultural appropriation or any other PC nonsense. Although my wife says my sense of style is so bad no one would claim it as their’s.

  9. neoteny says


    blockquote>in Columbia



    Must have meant “in Colombia”.

  10. TarsTarkas says

    I guess I better stop sharing my recipe for muktuk, in case the beady eye of the CAPS (Cultural Appropriation Police) falls upon me.

    They are a niche market in a niche market within a niche market. Most of these people have to have day jobs to get by. WTF are these idiots trying to do? NOT make music?

  11. Ray B says

    It is odd to see an indigenous musician, who plays electronic music, is accusing another indigenous musician of cultural appropriation. It must be my old, white, heterosexual male privilege talking when I make an assertion that I consider electronic music of any kind to be the property of Western musicians, & these indigenes have culturally appropriated it from us. Shame on them.

  12. TarsTarkas says

    I should have said, without government support, they would have to have day jobs to get by. I guess leaching off the taxpayer gives them enough time and the right to savage each other as well as their patrons for insufficient wokeness.

  13. The entire concept of cultural appropriation is insane. All culture is built on the assimilation of the culture of the past. The ludicrous nature of it is seen in the fact that the dispute is over a category within ‘The Indigenous Music Awards’. If cultural appropriation was a real thing why would it be considered acceptable to appropriate the western cultural form of a music award?.

    The sincerest form of flattery is imitation. You can’t appropriate culture all you can do is make use and extend it.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Talk about cultural appropriation: Easter and Christmas. Chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs? Santa Claus? I’m still waiting for anybody to do that sort of religious re-imagining of Islam’s holiest days.

  14. Rich in BC says

    Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally. Cultural appropriation is like kicking people when they’ve already been down for reasons no one here has a grasp on. None of you seem to have a cultural identity aside from not a damn Indian. Your hate and bitterness is an embarrassment but not a surprise since I’ve been discriminated against when I was a poor Rez kid and now as an educated, financially independent woman, no thanks to you, yeah I paid for my degree, my house -and my glasses, even though there’s always been a row of cheap frames that are free. When the economy is unstable, the privileged don’t feel so secure, do they? Life is good, I only notice racists and bother to respond to them about every five years or so 🙂

    • David of Kirkland says

      Western education college degree? Capitalist economy? Eyeglasses?
      Privilege is defined unlike your suggestion: “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”
      If you can eat food, while some are hungry, then eating food is a privilege.
      If you drink clean water, while some are thirsty, then drinking water is a privilege.
      If you breath air, while some struggle to breath, then breathing air is a privilege.
      If you are healthy, while some are sick, then health is a privilege.

    • Shamrock says

      “Cultural appropriation is like kicking people when they’ve already been down”
      Can you please explain how singing your tribe’s music or wearing a jacket based on your tribe’s design is kicking you while you’re down?

      Is the house you’re living in a tepee or some other form of native house used before whitey got here? How about those glasses? Do you drive a car?

    • Ray B says

      chip, get thou off my shoulder, you are pressing heavily on my attitude.

    • Stephanie says

      Rich, not everyone believes that a cultural identity should replace an individual personality. Why should anyone bring up their culture when it isn’t relevant? It clearly hasn’t made you happy.

      What seems to have made you happy is appropriating Western culture. Why didn’t you stay on the Rez, insist that they get rid of the power lines and plumbing, and revert back to traditional housing? You could have focused on your community, helped bring back your ancient language and religion, lifted your people out of existential despair.

      You didn’t, and now to make up for abandoning your culture and your people, you rant to people over trivial uses of song or fashion, using technology produced by the society you pretend to hate so much.

      Poor broken soul. It’s not too late to alleviate the guilt eating away at you. Give up the colonial life and return to your ancestral ways.

    • LFM says

      So it’s all right with you if one faction of Indigenous artists tries to wreck the possibility of another artist’s success on the grounds that she has ‘appropriated’ their work? Or renders it impossible for Indigenous artists of different ethnic groups to learn from each other (except in the most general way) for fear of boycotting and lawsuits? You think that’s going to benefit ‘poor Rez kids’?

      That’s what people are discussing here, and their anger is being directed not at Indigenous people as such, but at anyone who is willing to shoot himself in the foot in order to prevent someone else from winning a race.

  15. There is no such thing as cultural appropriation. All culture is built on the culture of the past. This dispute is over a category within ‘The Indigenous Music Awards’. If cultural appropriation is a thing why would it be considered acceptable to appropriate the western cultural form of a music award?

    The sincerest form of flattery is imitation. You can’t appropriate culture. What you can do is extend and publicise it.

  16. GSW says

    “As with many Indigenous cultural practices, the history of throat singing is tied up with colonial attempts to assimilate Indigenous peoples: The practice was at one point banned outright by Christian missionaries, but has enjoyed a renaissance in recent decades as Indigenous peoples reclaim their traditions.”

    I am suspicious of this oft-repeated, sweeping political claim. What exactly does “ban” mean in this context? Did the “colonial” state enforce this “ban” with legal sanctions or was it just discouraged/forbidden by some missionaries because throat singing was sometimes associated with shamanism? (I’ve heard of priests futilely attempting to “ban” Montrealers from staying at their cottages for the summer because they were missing too many Sunday masses.)

    Some brief research into scholarly sources turns up the fact that Roman Catholic missionaries in northern Quebec in the 1950s “encouraged the rebirth of the traditional [cultural] genres” to the point where an anthropologist could record throat-singing there in 1958.

    • I think it is easy to say that it was often stated Inuit like myself have stated we were banned from things and there is research that said we were encouraged to keep our culture. Say that to my mother and her siblings who went to residential school and I was raised my whole life to not be ” too Inuk” because that meant I was worth less. It is easy to say there is no such think as cultural appropriation because culture is bullshit. Maybe others were not raised in one or spent their life in search of who they are.
      Music is amazing for us to share with one another but people must be conscious of things and acknowledge their origins. Musical instruments come from all of the world and it wasn’t a white man who created percussion or a guitar…this is evolution so it would be nice if people could acknowledge that to take something is totally different than being inspired by something.

      • Who wasn’t raised in a culture? Everyone searches for an identity. And many immigrants face similar situations, no matter where they immigrate to. Don’t act to Irish, don’t act to Italian, don’t act to Chinese. My great-Grandmother’s family was Norwegian Saami, they were so persecuted in Norway (up into the 1970s) that they hid their identity when the immigrated to the US. They denied any Saami heritage and identified only their Norwegian heritage. In their homeland Saami had their language banned, their traditional trades banned or severely restricted, their religion banned. They couldn’t hold office or own businesses. It is only recently that the family background has been rediscovered, first through genealogy records and then through DNA. She married a full blooded Norwegian and claimed only to be Norwegian. There were rumors but no one had ever verified it. Five generations after her father fled Norway we are only starting to rediscover part of our culture. But it is only part of our culture, as is our American culture and our Norwegian, Danish, Lutheran, mid-western and Rocky Mountain Western cultures that have been handed down through the generations. Everyone has a culture, and generally multiple cultures. Many people have heritages that were suppressed by others. Culture is not static, but rather a continuing evolving thing.

  17. Morgan Foster says


    I agree. What missionaries? How many? Where? When?

    • Etiamsi omnes says

      …and please give a bit more details about the missionary position.

  18. PaulNu says

    The concept of cultural appropriation is dumb. If someone has a good idea, you should copy it.

    Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are subject to the judgment of others. This issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Be careful or you will find yourself on the wrong side of a mob of angry social justice warriors carrying pitch forks.

  19. Leo Leclair says

    Cultural imitation is the sincerest from of flattery. This is why I do not get upset when First Nations groups set up businesses featuring Black Jack and Roulette.

  20. Kevin Herman says

    Cultural appropriation is an entirely made up idea. Also have you ever noticed no one is ever accused of appropriating what would be considered white western culture. It’s another vehicle for so called marginalized groups to play the victim card and guilt so called oppressor groups like Caucasians of European descent.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Kevin Herman

      More than that, appropriating white culture while denying the right of white people to appropriate non-white culture in return is a child’s game of revenge.

      “Your ancestors took something from from my ancestors and gave them nothing in return. Now I’m doing the same thing to you!”

      • David of Kirkland says

        You can’t take another’s culture, just use parts of it yourself. When I make a reggae song, I don’t prevent Jamaicans from doing so.

  21. More well-meaning yet oafish paternalism says

    Strict rules against cultural appropriation like this seek to carve out little fiefdoms of irrelevancy for the cultures they claim to protect. By insisting that relatively unknown cultures remain sealed off from the outside world, they ensure that the broader culture will never benefit from the fruits of those cultures, and that artists and craftspeople of that culture will find no customers for their goods.

    Imagine simultaneously mourning the last speakers of a dying language and celebrating the fact that no outsiders ever learned and adopted any of its words. There is no culture more pure than one that has been forgotten.

  22. Sydney says

    Sad Fact: Canada’s indigenous are ‘haunted’ by EVERYTHING. Many, many, many groups of humans have been screwed over entirely by wars, genocide, imperialism, colonialism, and whatnot. What matters is how they pick themselves up afterward and keep moving forward. Sadly, even with support that spans many generations now, Canada’s indigenous don’t pick themselves up. It’s a big and complex topic.

    Fun Fact: The ‘cultural appropriation’ thing is a tempest in a municipally, provincially, and federally funded teapot. Across the Canadian North, indigenous communities play ‘country fiddle’ (yes, THAT fiddle that arrived with the rotten colonialists) and old-time Scottish/Irish fiddle music at community gatherings.

    • GSW says

      “Across the Canadian North, indigenous communities play ‘country fiddle’ (yes, THAT fiddle that arrived with the rotten colonialists) and old-time Scottish/Irish fiddle music at community gatherings.” @Sydney

      Further to that point, Tiffany Ayalik, noted above as an Inuit artist who withdrew her album from the IMAs because “there is a non-Inuk singer who is appropriating Inuit throat singing” has elsewhere recently been quoted as complaining about the purist “throat-singing police” who eschew “doing really cool, fun, innovative things with it [like] mixing [throat-singing] with electronic music, country music, hip hop or beatboxing and just really owning it, so that we can also make it adaptable. Inuit are making it accessible in ways that we feel are exciting and relevant. I feel like that’s a sign of a strong culture, that it can remain grounded in tradition and things of the past but also allows for enough flexibility to adapt to changing times.”

      Chutzpah defined.

      • Serenity says

        Chutzpah? I think it is psychopathy masquerading as an offended virtue – calling the kettle black, manipulating the truth beyond recognition.

    • Serenity says

      Sydney: “Sadly, even with support that spans many generations now, Canada’s indigenous don’t pick themselves up.”

      I would say, support that spans many generations now is the main reason why Canada’s indigenous don’t pick themselves up.

    • Rosenmops says

      Great. Scottish/Irish music and dance seems to be popular in all sorts of places.
      Bannock also came from Scotland,

  23. Sparkles and Rainbows says

    “Cultural Appropriation” is only a thing for people who don’t know the difference between “this has meaning for me” and “this is MINE.”

  24. Alan Gore says

    Because appropriation is the entire process by which elements from local cultures meld to produce enduring civilizations, the whole idea that appropriation is evil is a social justice warrior attack on civilization itself.

    Most appropriations are temporary and faddish, like hula hoops, and as such quickly disappear from the appropriating culture. But if a larger culture, say Imperial Rome, borrows a word from some local culture. If it represents some shading of an idea that Romans find useful and which has never existed in Latin before, it will stay in the language. Thousands of years hence, the same process may send the world into Spanish or English as an appropriation from Latin. It becomes part of civilization as a whole.

  25. markbul says

    “Conceived as a Juno Awards for Canada’s First Nations people, these awards do not focus solely on traditional music, but feature a broad range of categories such as Best Blues Album …”

    Wait … best BLUES album? I didn’t know the Mississippi Delta was in Canada.

    “Her stance likely will have serious repercussions for her career, especially when she next seeks a government grant. ”

    Well there’s where the problem starts. When you take the King’s money, you do the King’s bidding.

    • Leo Leclair says

      They are perhaps, McKenzie or Athabasca Delta Blues .

  26. max blancke says

    The whole appropriation argument is a way for people to justify their desire to scold, criticize and control others. In this particular case, it is about an attempt to subvert a rival’s musical success.
    This is all little more than an attempt to make virtues out of some of the worst parts of human nature.

  27. No sharia says

    I enjoy watching white liberals eat each other

  28. Shamrock says

    If a native/aboriginal is rapping and a black man is throat singing, are they both appropriating culture?

  29. xyz and such says

    I’m wondering if we shouldn’t just take the next logical step.. and say that you can’t buy or listen to music that doesn’t come from your own heritage? That should be considered appropriation too, right? Of course, how will the minority artist make a living….

    • Shamrock says

      How dare you use logic! You’re showing your white supremacy. (It doesn’t matter if you are white or not)
      Besides, the solution is coming. Many of the Democrat candidates are talking about reparations.

    • I have seen it suggested that eating eastern Asian food when you are not Asian is cultural appropriation. I have also seen it suggested that wearing hoop rings if you are not Hispanic or African American (I’ve seen it both ways) despite hoop rings being fairly common in the Mediterranean region and adjoining areas is also cultural appropriation. So, no I wouldn’t be surprised if even listening to music could be considered cultural appropriations by some. I demand that all non-Scandinavians stop using the jury system, since it is derived from the Scandinavian tradition of the Thing. And you can no longer use the words horse, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. And don’t you dare try to make lefse.

      • Jay Salhi says

        “I have seen it suggested that eating eastern Asian food when you are not Asian is cultural appropriation.”

        Which is at odds with the business plan of any Asian family who opens a restaurant hoping it will be popular with the general public. Enforcement of prohibitions on “cultural appropriation” would be harmful to the interests of the alleged victims.

        • Avid Reader says


          Exactly. Most Asians who I know were not at all offended by the girl wearing a Chinese dress to her prom. They would have happily sold her 6 more, one for every day of the week, at a very good price, and made sure she told all her friends.

      • MindYourBusiness says

        Jeffrey –
        Please – include lutefisk in the list of things not to make. The world might thank you for it.

  30. Weird that Canada (along with Australia, as far as I can see) seems to be one of the worst zones for contemporary, laughable hyper-PC idiocy. I am Scottish, and lived in America for years. If had whined and whimpered about ‘cultural appropriation’ at every time I saw an American person wearing tartan (or ‘plaid,’ as they call it for some reason I was never interested enough to find out) I would have been ululating morning, noon and nightmare. This whole ‘cultural appropriation’ thing is just another extremist American SJW load of tripe. I look forward to the day when anything useful and constructive comes out of North America again culturally. But I won’t hold my breath, for obvious reasons.

  31. Morgan Foster says

    Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to catch up with Tanya Tagaq, billed as a “punk Inuit throat singer” on YouTube:

    Have to say I’m not impressed, though perhaps I’m being too kind.

    If she wants to get in a fight with a Woodland Cree woman over cultural appropriation, then good luck to her. No, actually, I don’t care enough to wish either of them luck.

  32. Stephanie says

    The discrepancy between the attitudes of the Elders and the young people is telling. This “cultural appropriation” fad has no basis in culture and tradition. It comes from a very modern, very white strain of leftist thought. These young people have been infected by an insidious ideology that is supplanting what is left of their culture, and they’re too high on righteous indignation to see it.

    It’s amazing to me how this fanatical drive for purity never seems to translate to Aboriginal people reclaiming their traditional lifestyle. If colonialism was the ultimate evil, decolonisation is the goal, and the mixing of cultures is harmful, why have we not seen reserves converted from the run-down English-style small towns they currently are to replicas of pre-colonial tribal communities? Why the refusal to act on their alleged beliefs?

    The First Nations people I’ve talked to about this are aghast at the concept, revealing that they prefer Western society to their traditional way of life. This is a stunning fact they cannot allow themselves to consciously admit to, but they act it out in every way their whole lives. The discrepancy between the way they act and what they think they’re supposed to think causes a cognitive dissonance that can render them deeply insecure about their culture. That insecurity I think is what renders them sensitive to “cultural appropriation.”

    • Morgan Foster says


      Few would turn their backs on electricity, though, eh?

      • Avid Reader says

        @ Stephanie @ Morgan Foster

        When brave outspoken First Nation women like Bess and Jacinta Price talk about the violence enacted upon women and girls in the name of “culture”, they are vilified and persecuted in the most shameful way by progressives. When First Nation people demand the right to determine for themselves to allow wealth generation by allowing agriculture and mining on their land, they are prevented by white musician activitists (looking at you Missy Higgins anf John Butler) who infantilise them and their decisions.

        White leftists should be ashamed of the way they claim to know what’s best for Traditional Owners who are quite capable of seeing for themselves the ways out of disadvantage and poverty, but are prevented by such leftists with mythical, grandiose ideas of the Noble Savage, that in effect tell First Nation people to stick to the plantation. Makes me furious.

  33. Russell says

    What will the First Nations of Siberia and Manchuria make of their Canadian & Alaskan cousins’ views?

    Though their ancestors declined to emigrate to the Americas 12 millenia or so ago, some still live in cliche’ tipees, get about in cliche’ birchbark canoes, and throat sing eerily in languages embarassingly similar to Na Dene.

    Will their shamans demand reparations, and sue for cutural IP infringement when they discover that their non-Asian descendents have appropriated all their favorite stuff?

  34. Pingback: The Circular Firing Squad Is Destroying the Left's Political Brand: A Case Study from Canada - Quillette

  35. Johnny Sclerosis says

    Cultivation is managed growth for optimal yield/benefit. A successful culture is a widespread culture with many caretakers and distributors. Placing restrictions on who can sow and scythe the crop according to their tribal identity represents nothing more than the managed demise of that culture – at which point it arguably no longer is a culture.

    Anyone claiming to protect a culture by prohibiting its dissemination is at best a self-deceiving fraudster, at worst a hostile vandal. By accident or design, it’s suffocation.

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