Fast and Furious star says white festival-goers should stop wearing feather headdresses

Dominic Smithers

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Fast and Furious star says white festival-goers should stop wearing feather headdresses

Featured Image Credit: Jam Press/ Folio Images/Alamy

A Fast and Furious star has urged white people to stop wearing feather headdresses.

Nathalie Kelley, who played Neela in the 2006 release Tokyo Drift, says she's sick of seeing people at festivals wearing 'Indigenous fashion' such as feathers or teeth.

In a post to Instagram, the 36-year-old, who is of Argentinian and Peruvian descent, said those who dress up in such clothing at events like Burning Man Festival later this month are 'rubbing salt' in the wounds of a 'painful history'.

Kelley identifies as an Indigenous woman and claimed that non-Indigenous people are causing 'direct harm to bio-diversity' and Indigenous culture.

Nathalie Kelley urged non-indigenous people to wear feathers to festivals. Credit: Jam Press
Nathalie Kelley urged non-indigenous people to wear feathers to festivals. Credit: Jam Press

The actor wrote: "As the world opens up and people go back to festivals like Burning Man, the question of ethics arises around the use of feathers as ornaments.

"On an environmental level – as this post explains – this is wrong and harmful as it is pushing wild species in the Amazon to extinction.

"But there is also an ethical and moral argument to be made about the cultural insensitivity of people of non-Indigenous origin, dressing up as the people who were murdered and dispossessed from their lands."

Kelley urged people to think more seriously about the consequences of their actions.

And while she admits that she too has had 'her fair share of dressing up with feathers', The Vampire Diaries star said it's not worth the damage it causes.

The actor posted to Instagram to explain the damage it can do. Credit: Jam Press/Instagram
The actor posted to Instagram to explain the damage it can do. Credit: Jam Press/Instagram

"This fetishisation of Indigenous fashion and culture as a trend by non-Indigenous people rubs salt on the wounds of this painful history and makes a mockery of very real threats Indigenous people still face today," she went on.

"I too have had my share of dressing up with feathers in the past, and while they were not from Amazonian birds, I cringe now to think about the level of unconscious disrespect implicit in those past decisions.

"Even though I am of Indigenous descent, I can only acknowledge very recent Indigenous allyship on my part.

"I can imagine there is a level of grace for those who truly don’t know better – but if you are reading this – then now you know.

"So if you are packing for Burning Man or another festival, please leave the feather headdress at home.

"Your festival fashion is not worth the moral, spiritual and environmental harm it causes."

Kelley says it can have an adverse impact on biodiversity and also adds salt to old wounds. Credit: Jam Press/Instagram
Kelley says it can have an adverse impact on biodiversity and also adds salt to old wounds. Credit: Jam Press/Instagram

This comes after the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures formally apologised to actor Sacheen Littlefeather after she was booed on stage at the 1973 Oscars ceremony.

Littlefeather, who is known for films such as The Trial of Billy Jack and Johnny Firecloud, took to the stage nearly 50 years ago after Marlon Brando was awarded best actor for his role in The Godfather.

Wearing a buckskin dress and moccasins, Littlefeather became the first Native American woman to ever appear on the Oscars' stage as she spoke on behalf of Brando and said he could not accept the award due to 'the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry'.

The ceremony took place in the midst of the American Indian Movement’s two-month occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota and Littlefeather's speech was not met favourably, resulting in boos from some members of the crowd and causing Littlefeather to be discriminated against and personally attacked in the years after her appearance.

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Topics: Celebrity, Australia, Racism, Music

Dominic Smithers
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