Local Native-run business uses TikTok fame to educate about cultural appropriation
The art and lifestyle brand has amassed 28,000 followers on TikTok making videos about cultural appropriation and “Native inspired” art.
SEATTLE — A local Native lifestyle brand is going viral for its creative approach to explaining cultural appropriation. The Native lifestyle brand and store, 8th Generation, recently reached more than one million views on TikTok.
The brand regularly posts content about cultural appropriation, Native identity and how to buy cultural art in an ethical way.
“We’ve done some TikToks where we have just shown people like, ‘Hey, this is a piece of Native art or jewelry, and we want you to wear it and you should wear it and you shouldn’t be afraid of cultural appropriation when you buy it from authentic Native artists,’” said Colleen Echohawk, CEO of 8th Generation.
The brand specializes in authentic Native arts and goods made by Indigenous artists. Echohawk says every artist is vetted, and only arts and goods made by Native artists are sold at the store.
“What we’re seeing on TikTok, the people who are watching us over and over again…it’s a group of folks who want to be educated about what they’re buying. They want to make ethical choices. We are the perfect place if you want to be making an ethical choice and being a conscious consumer,” Echohawk said.
The videos come at an important time for the local Native art community. Last year, two western Washington artists were charged with selling counterfeit Native American art. Some of the counterfeit pieces were sold at Pike Place Market.
“You’ll see bios of our artists because that is the way you can be sure that artist is asking you to ‘please support the Native community.’ Support their business, support Native entrepreneurship,” said Echohawk.
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