Native American headdresses have long been a source of controversy, especially at music festivals, where concertgoers don the feathered pieces without thought to their cultural significance. So naturally, it would be big news if Glastonbury, one of the world's biggest music festivals, banned the sale of Native American headdresses at its tents, as is being reported this week.
Only it hasn't.
It started with a Change.org petition started by Daniel W. Round of Stourbridge in the UK, who requested that the popular music festival follow in the footsteps of Bass Coast festival in Canada and ban the sale of Native American headdresses. It was signed by just 65 people before being deemed a success on October 14. "I have just spoken with someone at the Glastonbury festival office -- they got in touch to inform me that the festival has decided to ban the sale of headdresses from next year!" Round said in an update to the petition.
A closer read of the festival's market policy, however, reveals that they're not exactly banned. "Indian Headdress" is on a list of items which cannot be sold at the festival "without prior authorization" -- right alongside alcohol, cigarettes and candle flares. In theory, this means that a vendor could still get authorization from the festival to sell Native American headdresses.
A spokesperson for Glastonbury responded via email that the policy "couldn't be clearer," adding that, "we are not banning alcohol, cigarettes, flares, gazebos, indian thingys [sic] or branded items... this is merely a guide list of items that will not be permitted to trade without prior discussion/authorisation."
Of course, even if Glastonbury did ban the sale of headdresses, it wouldn't do much to prevent them from showing up -- festival-goers could always bring their own from home. But, like the FCC's potential decision to ban the word "Redskins" in an effort to force the controversial NFL team to rename itself, any step towards increasing awareness and sensitivity towards Native American culture would be a step in the right direction.