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5 Summer Dresses To Chill In

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that when clicked on may result in a small commission to this site but all opinions are mine.

Torrid Summer Dress to Chill In

The hot dry summer, especially here in Phoenix AZ, calls for lightweight and airy summer dresses to chill in. A couple years ago I wrote about Torrid’s Floral Challis Maxi Sundress (similar) and what to wear under a white summer dress. That dress (pictured above) is still in relatively great condition and I still wear it to this day. Although I purchased that dress two years ago it still is one of my go-to dresses for the spring and summer. While Torrid no longer sells that specific dress I’ve rounded up 5 similar summer dresses that I could see myself chilling in, especially in 106° temps! I’m looking to add one of Torrid’s summer dresses to my closet and could use your feedback! Which is your favorite?

 

1. Chill your legs and shoulders with a fun maxi dress.

Maxi dresses are a closet staple for the summer but mix it up with this Off The Shoulder Smocked Hi-Lo Maxi Dress that will let you feel the summer breeze on your legs and shoulders.

Floral Print Off the Shoulder Smocked Hi-Lo Maxi Dress

Want to wow at your next warm weather function? This dress is a duh. The navy challis hi-lo maxi dress is ready for the temp to start climbing with a pink and white floral print. The smocked bodice is so comfy you’ll never want to take it off, while the off shoulder sleeves are so sexy no one else will want you to either.

Lace Gauze Hi-Lo Maxi Dress

This coral maxi dress tells a love story. The cinched, lace trimmed bodice has the sexy excitement of a first date; the stretchy smocked waist transports you to the honeymoon phase (hello comfort). The lace trimmed hi-lo hem has its own happily ever after.

2. Get away from the heat in this lightweight dress.

This Floral Print Ruffle Challis Tank Dress is the perfect dress for your summer vaca – it is lightweight and takes up less space in a suitcase! Throw this dress on over your swimsuit and head to the beach! This Floral Print High Neck Challis Hi-Lo Dress is very similar but in the trendy hi-lo style!

Floral Print Ruffle Challis Tank Dress

On an island in the sun, you’ll be playing and having fun in this vacation-approved tank dress. The ivory challis is our lightweight answer to any cold weather, with a multi-color floral and paisley print that’ll get you noticed on the beach.

Floral Print High Neck Challis Hi-Lo Dress

The black challis on this dress literally takes flight with a flowy feel and a hi-lo hem that lends air supply to your strut. The high neck keeps you covered up, but the sleeveless bodice shows off those arms. The floral print is so amazing, we kind of want it all to ourselves (but we’ll share with you).

3. Stay chic this summer despite the summer heat.

This cute Crinkled Chiffon Tank Dress is a lightweight summer dress for those not so causal days. Add a cardigan and take your summer dress to work!

Floral Print Crinkled Chiffon Tank Dress

This dress? It’s a girl thing. The fully lined mini sports a crinkled white chiffon overlay that has that coveted delicate, wispy aesthetic with a gorgeous floral print. The v-neck tank style sports a slightly gathered waistband and a smocked back. The cutout strappy back flaunts just a hint of skin.

4) Chill the weekend away in a casual summer dress.

This Hacci Knit Trapeze Dress is perfect for lounging on a hot summer weekend. Rompers are a fun flash back to the 80s when I was a kid but this Charcoal Grey Jersey Strappy Back Romper looks soon relaxing!

Hacci Knit Trapeze Dress

Talk about a super chill dress! This one’s made from crazy soft, can’t-stop-touching hacci knit and has a relaxed trapeze silhouette (nips in at the waist, cuts out & away from the body). In heather grey.

Charcoal Grey Jersey Strappy Back Romper

It’s a party-approved romper that is so comfy you can pass out in it at the end of the night! Slinky, silky, and soft, with crisscrossing straps on the back that turn up the sex appeal.

5) Take your summer maxi up a notch.

This peach pink Lace Up Ruffle Maxi Dress would be great for that dinner party or summer wedding on a beach that you feel like dressing up to but still want to feel chill in.

Torrid Insider Lace Up Ruffle Maxi Dress

Life’s a party; dress like it. You’ve got the second part handled with this sweeping peach pink maxi dress. The light-as-air georgette is a master class in femininity – with a hi-lo sweeping maxi hem serving as a gorgeous contrast to the lace up neck.

Torrid Insider Chiffon & Lace Maxi Dress

Belle of the ball potential is realized with this maxi dress. Swathed in a gorgeous merlot red crinkle chiffon, our designers carefully detailed the sweeping design with lace inset panels for a mix-and-match look. Lace flutter sleeves maintain a romantic air, with a tie back that gives you the chance to flash some back.

Personally, I prefer a summer dress with straps to cover any bra straps and favor the hi-lo or maxi look. How about you? What do you look for in a summer dress?

-Nicky

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5 Must Attend Events in June 2017

Redstreak Girl 5 Must Attend Events In June

I have pulled together a list of 5 must attend events in June. I never got around to publishing a list of May events as the month was quite busy for me (ya know graduating from graduate school and such). However, I hope one of these events will pique your interests! As always, follow my curated list of events on the Redstreak Girl Facebook page!

Arizona Diamondback’s Native American Recognition Day

Saturday, June 10, 2017 – Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ

The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team is hosting Native American Recognition Day event on Saturday June 10th when they play against the Milwaukee Brewers. This annual event includes entertainment from Native American musicians, drum groups, dancers, royalty and more. My husband’s band, Ethan 103, is performing again at this event. It is great that the Arizona Diamondbacks showcases Native artists here in Arizona. Also, if you purchase a ticket from the link above, the Arizona Diamondbacks will donate a portion of each ticket to Native American communities. Lastly, the first 20,000 fans through the gates will receive a D-backs pool towel courtesy of Gila River Casinos. Someone take me out to a ball game!

Must attend event in June 2017: Arizona Diamondbacks Native American Recognition Day 2017

Arizona Diamondbacks and Native American Recognition Day 2017. Flyer obtained through online circulation.

 

Emerging into Style – An ACONAV Runway Fashion Show

Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Chrome Nightclub at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Chandler AZ

ACONAV, a Native American fashion brand that specializes in couture women’s fashion. Loren Aragon, founder of ACONAV, announced a solo runway fashion show happening at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino. The lead model of the event is Native American supermodel Mariah Watchman (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation), a past contestant on America’s Next Top Model. I am super excited about this show but sadly I will be out of town. Since I’m not able to attend I’m hoping you will fill me in with the details and photos!

 

Asdzáá Warrior Fest

Saturday, June 17, 2017 – K’é Infoshop, Window Rock AZ

Window Rock is my hometown and I’ve been itching to attend the empowering events that are being held at the K’é Infoshop. Mid-June the Asdzáá Warrior Fest is holding a music festival with the theme “Honoring the Matriarch.” I won’t be in town to attend the fest but maybe you will? Check out their Facebook page for updated details on the event!

We are so excited! Come on out!! #asdaawarriorfest17 #awf2017

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Hello Kitty Cafe Truck Appearance

Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Scottsdale Quarter, Scottsdale AZ

I think the Hello Kitty Cafe is probably the epitome of kawaii! This pop up cafe is a food truck and is making stops all across the United States. On June 24th it is coming to Scottsdale Arizona. I missed the Hello Kitty Cafe the last time it was in Arizona. Therefore I plan to arrive early to increase my changes of buying a super cute treat. I’ve heard stories from insta-friends in other cities that the lines can get long and that treats are available for purchase until supplies last. So, if you plan on going, plan on arriving early and don’t forget to snap a pic of your treats! Be sure to check Hello Kitty Cafe’s social media channels to see which city it is visiting next.

 

20th Anniversary of The Fifth Element

Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Cult Classics at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, Tempe AZ

Cult Classics AZ is sooo good at selecting the movies that are my favorite go-to movies, especially in recent months when they presented The Princess Bride and Moulin Rouge. Later this June, Cult Classics and Zia Records are presenting The Fifth Element at Pollack Tempe Cinemas for its 20th Anniversary! Wow, it has been 20 years? I suppose it doesn’t feel that way when I watch The Fifth Element on a regular basis. Yes, that is how much I love this movie. I love that the supreme being is Leeloo (played by Milla Jovovich), a female. Damn right! I wanted to be her. Who am I kidding, I still want to be her and Diva Plavalaguna.

I love that The Fifth Element is like the most quotable movie for many situations I’m in. Anytime I eat chicken I quietly mouth “chicken good” complete with Leeloo’s inflections. I say “Take it, I don’t need it!” when someone takes something from me that I want to keep but have to give up.  I ask people if they’re “super green” after giving them instructions. See? I could go on. And, Luc Besson is a god for bringing me Léon The Professional, The Fifth Element, and making me love Gary Oldman more for his diverse acting abilities. Not to mention that The Fifth Element made Bruce f*cking Willis kinda lovable after Twelve Monkeys. So, who is coming to Fhloston Paradise with me?

Chicken GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY

Discover & Share this Chicken GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Free Events In The Phoenix Valley

Here in the Phoenix valley, certain art museums are free to the public for select days and limited time frames. Free admit days are great to escape the summer heat and to experience a new art exhibit. Here are a few places I am aware of and/or have attended a free event in the past. Keep in mind this is not a complete listing and there may be other restrictions that I don’t state here. Consequently, one should contact or search the website of the venue/event to verify the details surrounding their free programming.

  • Phoenix First and Third Fridays – On the first and third Fridays of every month most art galleries and venues in the downtown Phoenix area open for public viewing. There are self guided suggested artwalks and free event shuttles. Click the link to learn more about which venues participate on which Fridays.
  • Mesa Second Fridays – On the 2nd Friday of every month the downtown Mesa business and art communities come together for vending, live music, open galleries, and contests.
  • Act One AZ Culture Pass – Your AZ local library may participate in the Culture Pass program, which allows library cardholders to check out a pass for free tickets (usually 2 admissions) to visit an arts/culture destination (art museums, heritage centers, science center, art performance, botanical garden, etc.). Passes are available at participating libraries and destinations are first-come first-serve. Also, once you check out a culture pass, you have 7 days to use the tickets.
  • Phoenix Art Museum – The Phoenix Art Museum participates in Phoenix First Fridays and also offer the Discount Tire Free Family Weekend, which takes place the second weekend of each month.
  • Heart Museum – The Heard Museum participates in Phoenix First Fridays and offers Free Summer Sundays, which gives free admission every fourth Sunday of the summer.
  • Desert Botanical Garden – The Desert Botanical Garden offers free garden admission the second Tuesday of every month. Don’t forget, be sure to stay hydrated during the summer months!
  • Local libraries – Check your local libraries for free summer programming!

I hope one of these events catch your eye! Let me know if these are events you’re interested in and of other events I should be aware of. I love learning more about what is happening in the community!

Don’t forget to see a listing of other events that may interest you over on the Redstreak Girl Facebook page.

-Nicky

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Indigenerds at the Phoenix Comicon 2017

 

Phoenix Comicon 2017 is happening this Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2017. I look forward to the Phoenix Comicon every year because it’s an opportunity for me to geek out and have fun with my family – we are Indigenerds (Indigenous Nerds)! I love seeing my teens become creative with their cosplay. And I like meeting and hearing from my favorite artists, comic book creators, and actresses/actors. As you may be able to tell from the photos from Phoenix Comicon 2016 this is our family’s type of fun.

This year, I’m especially excited for the presence of Indigenerds who are representing! If you are attending the Phoenix Comicon please show them some support. Tell these independent artists to keep up the good work and support their business by purchasing their products. These are the Indigenerds I am aware of at the Phoenix Comicon: comic book artists Damon Begay and Tatum Bowie, Boise Esquerra the Director of H.A.M., and the short film Monster Slayer which is a contemporary retelling of the Navajo twin warriors.

Damon Begay & Tatum Bowie – Comic Book Artists

Damon Begay and Tatum Bowie are both Navajo comic book artists. Damon creates Interstellar Comix and Tatum creates The Pretty Okay Adventures of Tatum. Tatum also creates comic strips, one of which, What Can You Learn From Someone Like Me?, appeared in Native American Feminist Musings Vol 2. Empower Yosef Before You Wreck Yoself. They are a power couple and I am impressed with their production as they always seem busy creating the next book in their comic series/strip, tabling at comic book events, or participating in 24-hour comic book day. Their comic books are affordable so go find their booth #AA1522 and ask them about their current project!

 

Boise Esquerra, Director of H.A.M.

Boise Esquerra, is Writer and Director of the short film H.A.M. that screened this weekend at the Phoenix Comicon. Boise is of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. H.A.M. was also screened at the Phoenix Film Festival this past April 2017. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Comicon Film Festival already screened H.A.M. on Thursday, May 25 but you can still watch the trailer!

Director: Boise Esquerra

United States, 16min

16-year-old Peter must cope with his crackpot father who builds a HAM Radio that inadvertently catches the attention of an alien creature from outer space.

 

Monster Slayer

Monster Slayer is a collaborative art project that retells the Navajo story of the Hero Twins. This project falls under the Indigenerds banner because of this short film’s focus on contemporary Navajo culture. Monster Slayer is screening on Friday, May 26 between 12:45 PM to 2:15 PM.

Director: Kjell Boersma

United States, 19min

In this contemporary retelling of the Navajo story of the Hero Twins, teenagers Shondiin and Nathan Yazzie battle monsters raised by the mysterious Coyote with the help of their medicine man grandfather and metalhead uncle.

 

Damon Begay and Tatum Bowie are tabling the whole Phoenix Comicon weekend from May 25th through May 28th. The Phoenix Comicon Film Festival is part of the Phoenix Comicon and so an event pass is required. The Phoenix Comicon Film Festival is screening films all four days. H.A.M. was already screened on Thursday May 25th and Monster Slayer is screening Friday May 26th. The Phoenix Comicon Film Festival Awards Ceremony is Saturday May 27th. Maybe one of these films will win an award!

Let me know of other Indigenerds who are tabling or have a panel at the Phoenix Comicon. See you at the Phoenix Comicon!

-Nicky

I Was Raped. Speaking Out In Honor of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Picture of a dark blue journal

(Trigger warning: sexual assault)

My Story

I was raped. When I was 15 years old, an adult male who was 10+ years older than me raped me. Sadly, it was not the first time I was sexually assaulted. When I was in elementary school an adult neighbor sexually assaulted me. In both instances, I knew the adults.

In both instances, I was told that the offenders were really good people and that they couldn’t have possibly sexually assaulted me. As a kid, I remember sitting in a counseling session showing over and over again what this adult neighbor did to me, continually pointing to body parts on a doll. I was frustrated and embarrassed – why would they not believe me? The continued questioning essentially accused me of lying.

Many years later as a 15 year old, it hurt even more when people I trusted, church leaders and others close to me, didn’t believe me and defended the behavior of the man who raped me. A church leader told me to reconsider pressing charges because of the impact it would have on the rapist’s life and to their family. I was encouraged to repent before entering the Temple. In a group counseling session, I was led to feel that because I knew the man who raped me, versus being raped by a stranger, that I didn’t have it that bad. Even the prosecutor for my case initially told me that my case wasn’t really rape since I knew the man despite the fact that I was a minor and DID NOT and COULD NOT consent.

For the longest time, I felt shamed and silenced even though I knew that I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I still am battling feelings of guilt for deciding to discuss this publicly. And perhaps people who know me and my situation(s) might be saying – why is she bringing up old issues, I thought this was behind her and that she moved on, you were doing so well, why is she drawing attention to our family, that’s not what really happened, what were you doing or wearing, well the man really was a good guy – all of which are part of a culture that silences victims from coming forward and survivors from speaking about their experiences whether it be to a counselor or someone they trust.

It is actually for those reasons, feeling ashamed and guilty, that I am speaking out because I was made to feel that way by people I had encountered in my journey towards justice and healing: friends, family, people in my church, acquaintances, police officers, counselors, lawyers, and the judge. Those feelings made me feel powerless and that I should stay silent. I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.

Over time, I’ve learned that my feelings of injustice are in part because of legal and criminal jurisdictional challenges in Indian Country that limit a Tribe’s ability to prosecute rape charges. Learning more about these challenges and the high rates of sexual assault in Indian Country helped me to realize that I’m not alone in my experience. Perhaps by sharing my story it may encourage someone to seek help, to gain confidence in their ability to heal, and hopefully to shift a culture of silence surrounding sexual violence in our communities, or in other words help others to stop shaming and blaming victims.

Sexual Assault in Indian Country

1-in-3 Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, which for Native American women is twice the rate of sexual assault than the national average[i]. Sexual violence persists in Native American communities and coverage of sexual assault, rather than sensationalizing crimes, calls for responsible reporting in media and continuing conversations within our communities to prevent and end sexual violence.

In Indian Country, the federal government through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office still investigate and prosecute most major crimes and crimes committed by non-Indian offenders. While Title IX Safety for Indian Women of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 has strengthened American Indian Tribal jurisdiction over certain domestic violence crimes against Indian women, regardless of the perpetrator’s Indian or non-Indian status[ii] there is still the need to strengthen Tribal jurisdiction over major crimes, such as assaults against minors under the age of 16 and in cases when the offender is non-Indian[iii][iv].

But when approximately 67% of sexual abuse and related offenses in Indian Country are declined for prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office[v] this broken justice system further impedes real shifts in changing a culture of sexual violence that results in victims not finding justice and closure, and the consequence of offenders remaining within the community.

This injustice haunts me. As a rape survivor part of my healing process is feeling safe within my own community as well as feeling supported in my claims of sexual assault. This type of support is paramount to creating a safe community that seeks to end sexual violence.

In my case, the prosecutor actually told me there was a backlog of federal rape cases and there was a high probability my case would not be picked up for federal prosecution. I was 15 years old and didn’t fully comprehend, like I do now, exactly what was going on. To further complicate the matter, the Tribe had received an extradition request for charges in another state. I was told that the other state’s charges and sentencing would be harsher than what the Tribe could sentence but it was a risk as there was no guarantee of conviction. Recently, the Navajo Times published a list of sex offenders who have let their registration lapse and their whereabouts are unknown; this man’s name is on it. It is my understanding this person is on this list not because of my case but for the other case, however I am not sure as I wasn’t present in court to hear whether my case move forward or if it was dropped.

Offenders of sexual violence could really be anyone: relatives, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and strangers. Perhaps for some people it is easier to be fearful of strangers and to teach children of “stranger danger.” Strangers are people we don’t know and it is easier to associate a stranger with being a “bad” person. When we only think of offenders or perpetrators as strangers or “bad” people, in those instances when an individual, who one may know, really does something wrong, the act of trying to make sense of person X’s wrong behavior usually goes something like this: “But person X isn’t a bad person, they’re a really good person, because they do A, B, and C for me or the community. Person X can’t possibly be capable of that.” It is those types of statements that ultimately blame victims, which is counterproductive to ending sexual violence.

By only thinking of offenders as “bad” people, and rationalizing good people as not being capable of sexual violence (or really any crime), we as a community are in fact not holding individuals (and in my situation an adult!) accountable for their wrong behavior. And this is what keeps individuals, like me, silent or keeps other victims potentially from reporting crimes to the police. In fact, statistics show that when the victim knows the offender the victim is less likely to report a violent victimization to the police compared to when the offender is a stranger[vi]. This means as a community we need to assist in changing the cultural norms around sexual violence so that more individuals will report crimes to the police.

By sharing my survival story, I hope others don’t feel isolated and alone like I did and that they know there are resources available for victims for support. I also hope my story opens dialogue about how to support individuals we may know who have been victimized and who are survivors of sexual violence. I believe the biggest way to show support is to believe a survivor. Secondly, I believe that we need more people, family, friends, and colleagues to stop conversations that victim blame or joke about violence against girls and women and to educate people in our networks why we need to be supportive of victims and survivors.

It is important that victims and survivors have control over their story: whether or not to share, whom to share with, how often to share, and how others portray their story. While I feel ready to share my story sharing one’s story may not be right everyone (for a variety of reasons) and that is fine. Individuals should not feel pressured or forced to share their story. This post is dedicated to all of the individuals, over the years, who have shared their story of being a survivor of violence or sexual assault with me. I think of you often. Your strength has been my strength.

In honor and memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women everywhere.

-Nicky

If you are a victim of sexual assault you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (800-656-4673) to find help and resources – the call is free and confidential. For more information visit https://www.rainn.org

Learn more about what you can do to help and support victims in the event of sexual abuse. For more information visit https://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/HelpSupport

References:
[i] Tjaden, P. & Thoennes, N. [U.S. Department of Justice] (2000). Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf
[ii] U.S. Department of Justice. 2014. Justice Department announces three Tribes to implement special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under VAWA 2013. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-three-tribes-implement-special-domestic-violence-criminal
[iii] Horwitz, S. (2014, February 8). New law offers protection to abused Native American women. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-law-offers-a-sliver-of-protection-to-abused-native-american-women/2014/02/08/0466d1ae-8f73-11e3-84e1-27626c5ef5fb_story.html
[iv] Crane-Murdoch, S. (2013, February 22). On Indian land, criminals can get away with almost anything. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/02/on-indian-land-criminals-can-get-away-with-almost-anything/273391/
[v] U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2010, December 13). U.S. Department of Justice declinations of Indian Country criminal matters (GAO-11-167R). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-167R
[vi] Harrell, E. [U.S. Department of Justice] (2012, December). Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010. p.8. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/vvcs9310.pdf

Missing The Target: Target & BaubleBar’s #StealingNativeCulture Partnership

About a month ago, I wrote a Dear Torrid Letter about Torrid ripping off Navajo culture by selling a knock-off of the iconic Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace. Within two days Torrid apologized, agreed to stop selling the necklaces, and donated the profits to the Indian Arts and Crafts Association. Almost immediately after publishing the issue on my blog I was notified by friends and strangers of knock-off Navajo Squash Blossom Necklaces being sold at Walmart and other retail stores. Most recently, Target is profiting off stolen Native culture.

#StealingNativeCulture

A fellow Instagrammer, Marissa Gonzales, notified me about Target selling Squash Blossom Necklaces branded by BaubleBar for Target’s “SugarFix” jewelry partnership.

⛔️STOP #stealingnativeculture!!! ⛔️

A post shared by Marissa Gonzales (@indigewitch) on

A quick search of Target’s online store shows they are actually selling six different squash blossom jewelry items as part of the BaubleBar SugarFix partnership, which launched January 31, 2017.

The product descriptions even use terms that would be associated with styles of Navajo Squash Blossom Necklaces: “antiqued silver beads”, “antiqued squash blossom necklace”, and “antiqued silver finish”.

Target Screenshot Stop Stealing Native Culture #stealingnativeculture

Screenshot of Target’s online store from April 26, 2017 showing a search for “squash blossom” items. The search returned six items, two sets of earrings and four necklaces.

SUGAR FIX by BaubleBar for Target

So, there are two situations happening here. The first is that BaubleBar designed (or bought and resold) necklaces that clearly resemble the iconic Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace design. Secondly, Target agreeing to sell and profit off these items.

What gets me is that the knock-off jewelry designs were most likely reviewed by a team of people from both BaubleBar and Target… and no-one on that team thought this concerning? Where are the legal experts to chime in that these designs may potentially be protected under a U.S. federal law, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act? Or that Urban Outfitters recently settled with the Navajo Nation for claiming products were Navajo that really weren’t and that Target/BaubleBar should reconsider? While BaubleBar and Target may think they can skirt this issue because they’ve branded the products Sugarfix by BaubleBar, in reality they are stealing a cultural design that Navajo artists rely on for their livelihoods. Despite the legal concerns (I’m not a lawyer!), ethically BaubleBar and Target are in the wrong.

Collaboration

Target is clearly open to collaboration as they’ve partnered with BaubleBar to create SugarFix. Advocates of American Indian cultural intellectual property rights have stressed that retailers, such as Target, Walmart, Torrid, etc., should seek out collaboration with actual American Indian designers. Although such designers may not be into exploiting an iconic design, such as the Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace, for “fast fashion” (come on that low quality manufacturing looks too cheap for the elegant Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace), there are many American Indian designers who have designed their own jewelry lines who I may guess might have interest in partnering with a big box company to bring their designs to a larger audience. Such partnerships can be a win-win for both the retailer, as then they may avoid issues of cultural appropriation, and for American Indian designers who get their name heard and their jewelry into the hands of more people.

In addition, these instances of cultural appropriation from big box retailers have me questioning the diversity of employees that work on these collaborations and product designs. It is not only American Indian culture that is appropriated but other cultures, who have histories of being oppressed, their significant and sometimes sacred items are being commodified often without input or benefit to those communities.

What Can You Do About This?

When I learned that Torrid was selling a knock-off Navajo Squash Blossom Necklace, initially I felt like it was too big of an issue for lil ol’ me to tackle. I for sure didn’t expect Torrid to respond in the positive manner that they did, although I had hoped they would. But I went ahead and made an effort as I knew that I couldn’t just let it slide by – the issue meant too much for me to stand by.

Similarly, I hope by bringing these issues forward that ultimately these companies will change their ways (but I’m not going to hold my breath) and perhaps more importantly that it inspires someone to take action. If you see a company ripping off your culture, go ahead and feel angry and upset, and then take action. Use those emotions to write a letter. Tweet or give them a call (although I don’t advocate yelling at people). And tell others to support your efforts.

Are you seeing these knock-off Navajo Squash Blossom Necklaces in person at your local Target? If so, post a photo to Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtag #StealingNativeCulture, and tell @Target and/or @TargetStyle what you think.

-Nicky