Donating to Native led Organizations

Lakota Tipis, Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota, Circa 1890 Source image from “Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains” book Brooklyn Museum, edited by Nancy B Rosoff and Susan Kennedy Zeller.

 

We have been aware for some time that a handful of our designs were appropriated from different Native cultures in North America and this has not sat right in our hearts. Our past appropriations were hurtful and wrong. We at Coral & Tusk are truly sorry for any harm caused by these designs and we stand and acknowledge our benefit and privilege in using them without asking, or without proper credit. 

 

Below we've shared images of the appropriated items and photographs of what we were inspired by along with place-based charitable donations to organizations connected to the communities that the designs were appropriated from. Moving forward we are committed to giving back to Native communities annually through charitable contributions, sharing tools, references and resources on our platforms.

 

We think that it is important to give these visual examples along with our explanation and donation announcement. We want to be an agent of change here at Coral & Tusk, and there is no better way to do that other than transparency and honesty. It is also our hope that others can learn from these mistakes and follow in our footsteps as we continue to grow through them. 

Read our full apology, statements and a list of resources here coralandtusk.com/pages/reconciliation

 Black and white photo of Lakota Tipis Standing Rock Reservation South Dakota Circa 1890


Lakota Tipis, Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota, Circa 1890 Source image from “Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains” book Brooklyn Museum, edited by Nancy B Rosoff and Susan Kennedy Zeller.

 

A large majority of the designs that we have acknowledged as appropriation were inspired by the photograph at the top of this page, taken on the Standing Rock Reservation.

 

Previous Coral & Tusk Appropriated designs
Clockwise from top left: Coral & Tusk's Fox Portrait, Owl Portrait, Plains Fox and Bear Portrait pillows. These designs were released in 2012 and have been removed from our line.
We realize the harm that this type of imagery creates by perpetuating continual cultural stereotypes of Native Americans and the theft of potential familial cultural and spiritual design.
In light of this realization and our efforts to right these wrongs, we have donated $28,000 to NDN Collective in support of their extensive work in Standing Rock, their Land Back initiative, and their commitment to climate justice which directly aligns with one of our core principles here at Coral & Tusk.

 NDN Collective logo

NDN Collective
Defend. Develop. Decolonize. 
NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.
For more information on NDN Collective please visit: 
ndncollective.org

 

Black and white photo of Cheyenne Girls and their Playhouses from the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana circa 1907
Cheyenne girls and with miniature tipis on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana circa 1907. Photograph by Julia E. Tuell.

 

Our tipi designs were inspired directly by the photo “Cheyenne Girls and their Playhouses” from the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana circa 1907.
Image of toy tipi from the Smithsonian Institution
A toy tipi created by a Lakota artist circa 1880-1900. Source image from “Tipi: Heritage of the Great Plains” book Brooklyn Museum, edited by Nancy B Rosoff and Susan Kennedy Zeller.

 

 We have learned of the harm of these designs without acknowledgement and without proper cultural knowledge of the meaning and familial cultural design of these items.
Image of 3 Coral & Tusk Tipi designs
Embroidered tipis created by Coral & Tusk. These designs were released in Fall 2013 and have been removed from our line.
We have also learned how these types of items continue stereotypical idealization around Native American culture. This type of appropriation paints Indigenous cultures in the past which continues invisibility and erasure of current people. We were deeply inspired by the grassroots community work of the People’s Partner for Community Development on the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana and would like to announce a donation of $5,000 to this incredible organization. 
 
  People’s Partner for Community Development  
(PPCD) is a nonprofit organization serving the communities of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Southeastern Montana. Founded in 1999 as a collaboration between local community members to stimulate the local economy on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, PPCD is a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution with 501(c)3 status. Today, PPCD collaborates with reservation communities to ensure grassroots leaders have the resources, education, tools, and training they need to empower their communities. To learn more about this organization please visit: peoplespartners.org

 

Coral & Tusk Igloo Pillow
Embroidered “Arctic Fox” pocket pillow features an igloo with arctic fox characters designed by Coral & Tusk. This pillow was released in the Fall of 2012 and has been removed from our line.

 

Through our continued learning, we have realized that our past design, “Arctic Fox” is an appropriated art piece. We have realized how these types of designs create stereotypes, continue fantasized or unreal idealization of Indigenous peoples (in this case, Inuit) and do no justice to the cultural practices of those depicted. 
 
Another lesson we have learned through this process, is that igloos and tipis are important shelters and are not to be misconstrued as whimsical play houses. We would like to acknowledge and honor the ingenuity of these shelters and the way they have been designed in harmony with the landscape for many generations.
 
We would like to announce our donation of $2,000 to the Inuit Circumpolar Council- Alaska. Their advocacy for land and wildlife management sovereignty and their work around local food sovereignty makes this a perfect match with our company values. 
Inuit logo 
Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska (North America) 
Through its Alaskan Inuit Food Sovereignty Initiative, the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska is convening Inuit community leaders from across Alaska. The Initiative seeks to unify Inuit throughout the state to advocate for land and wildlife management sovereignty. The Initiative also strives for international cooperation to promote food sovereignty across Inuit Nunaat.
 
For more information about this organization, its efforts, and how you yourself can support it, please visit: 
 
https://iccalaska.org/media-and-reports/alaskan-inuit-fsi/




This post is part of our Cultural Appropriation Statement series. To read our full statement on cultural appropriation and our open apology visit our website: coralandtusk.com/pages/reconciliation
Read Stephanie Housley's statement on cultural appropriation
Read Adrienne Benjamin's statement on why reconciliation matters