Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin this week apologized after her daughter mocked Native Americans with a “war dance,” and her boyfriend directed an offensive middle finger gesture at them.
Last March, the Native American community called for Christina Fallin to apologize after she posted a promotional photo for her band, Pink Pony, to the social media site Instagram of her wearing a red headdress.
Fallin removed the Instagram photo and asked the Native American community to “forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.”
When Christina Fallin’s band performed at the Norman Music Festival last weekend, a group of Native American demonstrators also showed up to silently protest the Instagram photo.
According to Indian Country Today Media Network, Fallin mocked them from the stage by wearing “a Native American-style fringed shawl with the word ‘Sheep’ on the back and performed a fake war dance while her boyfriend Steven Battles ridiculed the protesters and flipped them off from the stage.”
“Apathy towards the clear feelings of other people is cruelty,” Cherokee EONM member and blogger Jennie Stockley reportedly wrote on the Pink Pony Facebook page. “Her apathy based to Native culture is racist. No opaqueness in this issue. It is clear. We will not stand silent while she degrades honored and sacred symbols.”
A statement from the band, however, insisted that Christina Fallin was not trying to offend the Native American community.
“Nothing about our performance was connected in any way to Native American culture,” the statement said. “We are sincerely sorry to anyone who was offended by the photograph that started this controversy.”
In a separate statement, Gov. Mary Fallin suggested that not even she was buying her daughter’s explanation.
“On Saturday night, while performing at the Norman Music Festival, my daughter acted in a way that I believe was inappropriate,” the governor noted. “While she will always be my daughter and I love her very much, I don’t approve of her behavior on that night or that of her band. I have communicated that to Christina.”
The Norman Music Festival released a statement saying that it “does not support the actions of Pink Pony, and in particular Christina Fallin, at our festival on Saturday night.”
The statement continued: “We had no prior knowledge of the performance content, and we oppose her use and depiction of American Indian artifacts and symbols. We certainly understand that these actions do nothing but promote racism, cultural discrimination and religious discrimination. The Norman Music Festival is here to support artists and bring people together- not divide them. We apologize to anyone who was offended.”
Indian Country Today Media Network pointed out that this is not the first time the Native American community has crossed paths with the Fallin family. Last year, Gov. Fallin reportedly backed the forced adoption of a part-Cherokee child to a white South Carolina family.
Watch the video below from KFOR, broadcast April 28, 2014.