Cultural Appropriation vs. Cultural Appreciation

Why it's important to buy Native-made

What is Cultural Appropriation?

Cultural Appropriation is when a dominate group or groups perpetuates genocide and erasure of a marginalized community (people). through the stealing of cultural intellectual property, without the rights or authority to do so. This is one of the final steps of genocide.

What is Cultural Appreciation?

Cultural Appreciation honors the intellectual property rights, seeks consent to sell share, produce, and collaborate. This shifts the power dynamic and allows the community or people to retain the rights of their heritage, culture, and designs.

Cultural appreciation involves a genuine desire to learn, understand, and celebrate different cultures while respecting their integrity and the people who belong to them. It is an ongoing process that requires self-reflection, empathy, and a commitment to cross-cultural understanding.

Can I buy Native-made goods if I am not Native?

Yes! When buying Native-made from Native artisans and business owners, you are directly supporting the community and honoring what they are choosing to share. By doing this you are practicing cultural appreciation contribute to a more respectful and equitable exchange!

Why is this important?

When you buy Native designed and Native made, you are investing in communities. You are investing in land. You are investing in future generations.

For years corporations and popular culture have developed many "Native inspired" or false "Native made" products to capitalize on the history of the influence of Native cultures.

Cultural Appropriations takes away important resources from Native artisans and Native owned businesses. Many Native individuals depend on arts and crafts as their primary course of income.

Beyond cultural appropriation, many Native communities are disproportionally under-resources, facing numerous systemic challenges including food deserts, housing insecurity, educational barriers, limited job opportunities lack of clean water, and environmental violence.

Buying Native made, you help create sustainable livelihoods and economic opportunities within Native communities. It allows Native artisans to control the narrative around their cultural heritage and promotes self-determination and empowerment.

Ahéheé (thank you) for choosing to buy ethically, investing in Native communities, and support Native designed goods.

- The Thunder Voice Family


Cultural Appropriation

Power Dynamic

Cultural Appropriation is a disproportionate power dynamic in which members of a dominant culture take elements from a culture of people who have been systemically oppressed by that dominate group.

Extraction or Imitation

The appropriator takes or imitates the cultural element without proper understanding or acknowledgment of its significance, history, or context within the original culture.

Separation from the Original Context and Intent

The cultural element is often detached from its original cultural context, stripped of its meaning, and used solely for aesthetic purposes or as a trend.

Misrepresentation or Distortion

The appropriated cultural element may be misinterpreted, misrepresented, or distorted, often leading to stereotypes, clichés, or caricatures that reinforce cultural biases or misconceptions.

Commercialization or Commodification

The appropriated cultural element may be commodified, turned into a marketable product or trend, and often profited from without equitable benefit to the original culture or its creators.

Lack of Credit or Acknowledgment

The appropriator may fail to credit or acknowledge the original culture, the significance of the cultural element, or the contributions of the people who created or nurtured it.

Disregard for Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural appropriation can often occur without consideration for the potential harm caused to the communities whose culture is being appropriated, perpetuating power imbalances and disrespecting their experiences and history.


Cultural Appreciation


Choose to channel your money into the communities the designs and goods belong to.

Open-mindedness and Curiosity

Approach other cultures with an open mind, showing genuine interest and curiosity about their customs, traditions, art, music, food, and beliefs.

Education and Learning

Take the initiative to educate yourself about the culture you want to appreciate. Read books, watch documentaries, attend cultural events, and engage in conversations with individuals from that culture to gain a deeper understanding.

Respect and Humility

Recognize that each culture is unique and has its own history, values, and practices. Show respect for cultural differences and avoid judgment or assumptions. Approach cultural interactions with humility and a willingness to learn and listen.

Authentic Engagement

When engaging with a culture, seek authentic experiences. Participate in cultural activities, festivals, or ceremonies with a genuine desire to understand and appreciate the significance behind them.

Building Relationships

Foster connections and relationships with individuals from the culture you wish to appreciate. Engage in meaningful conversations, ask questions, and listen actively to their perspectives and experiences.

Proper Attribution and Acknowledgment

When sharing or promoting cultural elements, make sure to give proper credit and acknowledgment to the originating culture. Highlight the significance, history, and context of the cultural element to ensure it is represented accurately.

Reflection and Self-Awareness

Continually reflect on your own biases, assumptions, and privilege. Be aware of power dynamics and strive to approach cultural appreciation in a way that is inclusive, equitable, and respectful.

Buy Native-made

Be sure to support Native Artisans and business.

Follow and share Native Artisans and businesses on social media.

Every little bit helps!