Two Saturday’s ago we went shopping with our kids. I was on the hunt for a new sofa and some bedding for our king size bed. While I’ve seen these kid teepees and nursery teepees online and all over social media, this was my first time seeing one face-to-face. It just felt so cheap and inappropriate sitting there at the end of a Target aisle inviting children to beg their parents for it.
Immediately it caught our 3 year old’s eye and he asked to get in it. I said no. And right then and there my husband and I used this as an opportunity to teach our son about cultural appropriation. That, and the difference between appropriation and appreciation.
Now, obviously, our three year old didn’t understand a lot of what we were talking about and he has no idea how this plays out in the real world on a much larger scale, but we started a dialouge. An important concept that will continue to be discussed as he grows.
I’m still unpacking my own privilege and finding my voice, so please forgive me if I tripped over what I was saying. But if my meaning was somehow unclear, here is my point in one sentence: Teepees should not be sold at Target. Period.
As an alternative, there are beautiful and fun tents for children that make great additions to any playroom. We have two from ikea. Then these are two options I found on etsy; one is very simple and the other is more ornate. Our green pop-up tent is shown below both out and stored.
This article from Native Appropriations by Adrienne Keene is a great article for those looking for more information on the subject. It is from a few years ago, but it is as relevant today as it was then.
This article from Brown Girl Magazine by Elizabeth Jaikaran discusses the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation.