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Sasha Houston Brown: Corporations rip off tribal property

"On Columbus Day I wrote an open letter to the CEO of Urban Outfitters to let him know how I felt. I also pointed out that using Native American tribal names to market inauthentic products violates federal law that protects tribes from corporate encroachment and misrepresentation. As far as I can learn, Urban Outfitters never contacted the Navajo Nation about using its name, which happens to be protected by 12 trademarks.

To be clear, I don't mind individuals being inspired by Native American art and style or wearing Native jewelry. But Native people have a right to make their own decisions, and Native businesses should benefit from the sale of Native goods.

Corporations shouldn't rip off our art, produce it cheaply overseas and make a profit on our culture. Minneapolis is home to one of the largest urban Indian communities in the nation. There is no shortage of Native artists."

Get the Story:
Sasha Houston Brown: If Native-themed goods are used to make a profit, Native people should benefit (Minnesota Public Radio 10/17)

Also Today:
Navajo Hipster Panties turn heads, cause legal stir (The Farmington Daily Times 10/18)

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation sent trademark letter to Urban Outfitters in June (10/17)
Opinion: Urban Outfitters is obsessed with 'Navajo' fashions (10/11)
Living: Asking Navajos about the neo-Navajo trend in fashion (9/26)

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