Thursday, April 05, 2012

Navajo: Culture, copyright, and consumption

Hey there,

So I'm listening to Tell Me More on NPR today, and catch a story that is very much at the center of a number of discussions I seem to have been having with friends and acquaintances "in the arts". I put that in quotes, because that's also part of the conversation. As humans, everyone expresses themselves in some way, and at its heart, that's the essence of what art is, to me, anyway. The expression of something through some medium.

But how do we experience that art? What divides artist and audiences and why is there a divide in some cultures and not in others? how do we value art? how do people make a living from their art? I mean I could go on, but I won't.

In this, Michel Martin raises the profile of a recent incident in which the Navajo Nation is suing Urban Outfitters for over Trademark.  USA Today had an article about it at the end of February, and you can google "Navajo" and "Urban Outfitters" to find even more articles and blogs on it.

At this point I can't provide any information other than what's already out there. I will mention one question Michel Martin asked which really get to the foundation of this huge issue. Who owns culture? And I think it's an interesting case study to see exactly how the Navajo people have made efforts to protect theirs.

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