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Headdresses: Offensive or Expressive?

Headdresses: Offensive or Expressive?

It’s that time of year again, THANKSGIVING! Most people are waiting for the exciting New Years eve events, but this year in San Francisco we got something new. We have Give Thanks, a brand new event hosted by Vital Events, Ruby Skye, and Midnite. The line up boasts DJs like ATB, Cazzette, Ilan Bluestone,  Sound Remedy and a live performance by Emma Hewitt.  As I contemplated what kind of outfits I can expect to see at Give Thanks, I was reminded of a recent issue circulating  the web and EDM community:  the controversial Native American Headdress.

Since the dawn of raving creating your awesome new outfit for the next rave has always been exciting and accessorizing was the cherry on top. Recently, more and more festival attendees are accessorizing with Native American headdresses. They are absolutely beautiful, but they are a sacred cultural symbol so at what point do you draw the line?

Some Native American cultures find the overuse of headdresses in the rave scene offensive. For those who do not know what a headdress is or looks like, it is a  feathered bonnet worn by several Native American cultures to represent high spiritual and political status, and were often worn into battles.  Headdresses are something that is earned by the individual and something that is regarded with respect. So I took the conversation to EDM related forum and asked what people heavily involved in the rave scene thought about the subject.  Less than 12 hours later I woke up to 92 messages explaining what should be done about it.  Here’s a few examples from fellow ravers who believe why its offensive.

Ninad Sathe commented:

“ I can totally understand why it could be taken as offensive. They aren’t simply an item of clothing but have deep spiritual/religious significance in the cultures they originate from – people wearing them for fun to festivals further devalues a culture that has experienced much discrimination and marginalization at the hands of the US population over the past 400 years.“

J. L. commented:

“I don’t see anyone going to a concert/festival/rave saying, “I’m wearing this tonight because I deeply appreciate the culture behind it and earned the right to wear it from the time I spent on an actual reservation/my blood roots”. It’s always, “Don’t I look cute in this?” You haven’t earned the right to adorn yourself with such an honorable decoration, so don’t.”


Taken By: La Luna Photography at Edc Las Vegas


“ I don’t think anyone should be offended by the fact that I wear a headdress. Yes, I am not Native American at all. But, I do find it to be absolutely beautiful. I love wearing them because I appreciate the meaning that they have. I know some headdresses represent ceremonies to celebrate life and that’s what I’m doing. I am celebrating my life when I’m at a rave. I’m celebrating for everyone.”

Valid point.  Are we not one of the world’s largest multicultural country? We are honored with having the freedom to express ourselves. When you think about it, we are one big melting pot of all the beautiful people of the world meshed into one. Yes, we may not all be of the same ethnic background, but are we all not united as one?   

I understand the significance of the headdress and that everyone is inspired and influenced to dress or act a certain way. I do believe that being a community based on PLUR we should practice respect more often. We should come together and educate ourselves as to what it means to wear a headdress or any other accessory for that matter before simply putting one on without a second thought.

What are your thoughts on the Native American Headdress?

Lady Luna
Disney lover by day , EDM photographer by night

TAGS: Lady Luna , commentary , edc , giving thanks , headdress , la luna photo , native american head dress , opinion , rave , what to wear ,

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