Way to go,Urban Outfitters
. Last week, the clothing store caused a nationwide stir in Native American communities with its collection of "Navajo-inspired" items. Community members signed petitions,open letters
were sent, and the Arizona-based Navajo Nation ordered a cease and desist on the word "Navajo" (to which it owns the trademark). A heated debate about the cultural insensitivity -- and legality -- of the clothing store's collection quickly followed.
"There's so many other things that [Urban Outfitters] could have done that would have been so much more interesting," says Andrea Hanley, director of the Berlin Gallery at the Heard.
She shows us some of the pieces going into the newest exhibition at the gallery, including Steven J. Yazzie's painting (seen above, next to the Navajo Hipster panty) and a vibrant print from Normal Akers (below).
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Native artists are doing diverse, interesting, and innovative work all over the country, Hanley tells us. "Why do you have to go to this cheap kind of version?" she asks. "Why wouldn't we be able to collaborate with really great, contemporary Indian artists?"
"They're different time periods and they're different styles," she says. "And they're from different areas within the Navajo reservation."
The Heard Museum's Larissa Curtis agrees. "And to just slap it on a shirt, it gets to be a little bit offensive," she says, "because they don't know what they're doing."