A faculty member at the University of New Mexico was blasted for wearing a headdress on Halloween, according to KRQE-TV,
There’s just one catch: The faculty member is Native American.
What are the details?
The unnamed faculty member reportedly wore the headdress to a pumpkin-carving contest held at the school over Halloween and ruffled the feathers of many.
“Just because you’re Native American, does not give you a free pass to rock a headdress or a tomahawk,” co-president of a Native American group on campus, Joaquina Castillo, told KRQE.
The organization — the KIVA Club — encourages involvement with Native American issues and events at the university on both student and community levels.
Castillo added, “She was actually being awarded for most authentic costume, which is just an even more big slap in the face.”
Other members of the club told KRQE that the costume was a prime example of cultural appropriation and was racist to boot because the faculty member in question is Navajo and headdresses are reportedly not worn within that particular tribe.
Hope Alvrado told KRQE, “They [faculty] represent the university in a way that speaks to the values of this university. When we see faculty members, who are outwardly culturally appropriating from any background someone else’s culture, it sends a clear message.”
“People need to be held accountable,” Alvrado added. “We need to call it what it is and that’s cultural appropriation. It’s racism.”