open letter to mogli & the dirty sisters
(also sent to their Facebook page)
so I’m basically just weighing in on the most recent tumblr drama (WHICH, if you haven’t seen it yet, is pictures from Harbour Water that depict The Dirty Sisters wearing face paint that looks pseudo-indigenous-looking-kinda and burning sage), and I wanna say first and foremost that this is pretty out of character for me because I’m basically the ponder-it-in-my-head type. BUT I have recently been trying to be a little more open about stuff I read or see and feel weird about, so I figured I’d drop you a line.
As an aboriginal person, I’m gonna say that I just straight up object to the burning of sage in any kind of way by white people. I’ve been brought up by a native guy, I’ve been to the ceremonies and I’ve seen it burned by the indigenous people who knew what they were doing, and it’s a really really big deal. Like, a deal so big that I can’t even begin to explain it properly. the continuation of its use as something sacred and exclusive to indigenous spirituality, ritual and custom (as practiced by indigenous people [only]) means a lot to me, personally, and i wouldn’t be honest or a good friend if I didn’t say that seeing y’all do it feels like the colonialists got to ya.
THAT BEING SAID, I know that NONE OF THIS is coming from a place of legitimate unkindness or anything even remotely approaching that. I don’t know the rest of you very well, but mogli, buddy, I <3 u. I know you’re one of the shiniest souls out there and I am one of your BIGGEST fans and sometimes when I get sad I remember that time when I was feeling sad and anxious at the G and you just sorta looked at me and said “Tara, don’t be silly, everyone knows yr a gift from the lord” and I giggled until I felt better. I want you to know that I’m not whippin’ the hate out, I don’t think you’re any less of an awesome creature hell-bent on making this planet a better place. You succeed in that like every single day. Everyone’s gotta hold their friends hand at one point and say “Hey, buddy, maybe you should not do that one thing, k?” otherwise I don’t think you’re being friends properly.
ANYWAY, yeah. yr liner notes made me shiver a little because Indigenous people don’t really like to be referred to as a conglomerate (because there are 50+ distinct cultural/linguistic groups in Canada alone and there is no such thing as “native ways” or “native spirituality”, there are 50+ separate cultural practices, and lumping ‘em all together feels icky, u feel me?). And the sage made me feel REALLY squicky because I’ve written entire stories about sage and how it is just kind of a hands-off-white-people thing (maybe I will send a copy to you! would you like to read a story I wrote?).
As far as the face paint goes, though, I don’t really think that’s a big deal (maybe that’s just me?) because like so many different cultures paint their faces, and from what I understand y’all were just dressing up like animals.
ANYWAY, that is my ten cents. I hope you see that my disappointment is coming from a place of love and isn’t/will never manifest as anger or hatred towards artists I love + respect so much. I just wanted to make sure you knew how I felt. I guess it’s up to you to decide what you wanna do with that information.
your friend and comrade,
EDIT; I know a lot of this probably sounds too apologetic or whatever, but you gotta remember that I love mogli and my reaction to this was more of a *bart simpson voice* ah, man than a tidal wave of rage.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO TALK TO ME ABOUT ANYTHING I WROTE.