Norman, Oklahoma – Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country were alerted to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s daughter, Christina Fallin’s latest gaff when her band Pink Pony announced via Facebook “I heard Pink Piny was wearing full regalia tonight.” Protestors led by Choctaw musician Samantha Crain staged a protest at the Norman Music Festival in Oklahoma and Native American’s reaction via social media was outraged as Fallin wore a Native American-style fringed shawl with the word “Sheep” on the back and performed a fake war dance while her boyfriend Steven Battles ridiculed the protesters and flipped them off from the stage.
Earlier that day, Crain noted on her Facebook page, “Publicity stunt or not, even if they are lying, their attitudes, their insincerity, their irresponsibility, their general lack of caring about anything other than the advancement of themselves deserve a protest. So I will be at the Pink Pony show at NMF tonight. Midnight. black watch stage. Peacefully and quietly picketing with signs to tell them how I feel.”
Some of the signs said, “culture is not a costume,” “with all your power, what will you do?,” “you still owe us an apology,” “don’t trend on me,” “I am not a costume,” and “please forgive us if we innocently oppose you”. The last sign was a take on Fallin’s non-apology after she posted a photo of her self misappropriating Native America regalia reserved for highly honored leaders for a glamour shot to promote her career. Faced with more Native American protests Fallin attempted to have Crain and supporters removed by security, but they were allowed to remain on private land adjacent to the stage.
According to a tweet by Chahta Summer, a Choctaw mother and recent law school graduate Fallin’s shawl with “sheep” written on the back was a direct swipe at Native Americans. “Their supporters were calling us sheep the last time, saying we called her out to be PC, not thinking for ourselves.”
Cherokee EONM member and blogger Jennie Stockley posted to Pink Pony’s Facebook page, “Apathy towards the clear feelings of other people is cruelty. Her apathy based to Native culture is racist. No opaqueness in this issue. It is clear. We will not stand silent while she degrades honored and sacred symbols.”
The Fallin family has faced controversy with the Native American community both in Oklahoma and nationally last year when Governor Mary Fallin helped facilitate the forced adoption of a Cherokee girl, Veronica Brown from her Cherokee family who were found to be fit parents by the courts 1,000 miles away to a white South Carolina couple who had used shady adoption practices to dodge the Indian Child Welfare Act that seeks to protect Native American tribe from mass removal of their children, a violation of the Geneva Conventions on Genocide. Oklahoma has one of the largest Native American populations in the country and has 38 federally recognized tribes.
EONM calls upon the Riverwind Casino, Blackwatch Studios and Christina Fallin and Governor Mary Fallin to apologize for this direct attack affront to Native American concerns regarding the misuse of our culture and purposeful insult to Native Americans in general. Blackface is not acceptable and if Fallin had engaged in it and then derided African Americans’ for demanding she stop performing in blackface the Governor would be apologizing on national television. It shows the degree to which racism and caricature of Native American culture is acceptable in the United States to a degree it is not for other ethnic groups. And coming from a member of a family that is supposed to represent 38 Native American communities within the state of Oklahoma this behavior is particularly unacceptable.