Christina Fallin’s band sparks controversy with performance at Norman Music Festival

By Jerry Wofford, Tulsa World

Christina FallinA performance by Christina Fallin, daughter of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, at the Norman Music Festival Saturday drew criticism from many, including the governor herself.

Many interpreted the provocative performance by her band Pink Pony, which included a cape or shawl with the word “sheep” drawn on the back, as offensive to Native Americans. It comes less than two months after Christina Fallin drew criticism from several groups for a photo of her wearing a Native American-style headdress.

“On Saturday night, while performing at the Norman Music Festival, my daughter acted in a way that I believe was inappropriate,” Gov. Fallin said in a statement Monday. “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.

“I have great respect for Oklahoma’s tribal members and I celebrate their traditions and culture. As governor, I work in hand in hand with tribal leaders on everything from disaster response to economic development. Tribal governments are important partners to our state government, and I value the good relationships my administration has cultivated with them.”

Fallin spent most of Monday touring tornado damage in Quapaw, where one person was killed when an EF-2 tornado struck the town Sunday.

The band posted a lengthy statement Monday afternoon saying “nothing about our performance was connected in any way to Native American culture” and apologized to those who were offended.

Christina Fallin’s band, Pink Pony, performed at midnight Saturday and posted earlier in the day on the band’s Facebook page: “I heard Pink Pony was wearing full regalia tonight.” The band clarified it was meant as a response to the rumors they themselves were hearing, though nothing was planned.

Samantha Crain, a singer based in Shawnee, said the earlier photo and what she felt like was a “non-apology” to the headdress stir led to her and others wanting to express frustration with the actions.

“What I was originally hoping could happen was we could talk to them and let them know how we felt before it even happened,” Crain said.

With the offending photo and the Facebook post the day of the show, Crain said that the Native American community needed to peacefully respond.

“Whether it was a publicity stunt or not, we needed to rally together,” Crain said.

Several people gathered to the side of the stage as the show began holding signs that read, “Don’t tread on my culture” and “I am not a costume” among others, according to accounts. According to the website reddirtreport.com, which posted one protester’s account of the protest, and video posted to YouTube of the performance, the author said it appeared Fallin was wearing a Native American-inspired “shawl” with the word “Sheep” written on the back.

The statement from Pink Pony read that it was “in no way a Native American shawl. It was not designed to look like one.” The word “sheep” on the back refers to those who “blindly follow sensationalist yellow journalism rather than the truth,” the statement read.

Norman Music Festival chair Gene Bertman said in a statement Monday that the festival was unaware of what the band’s performance would include.

“The Norman Music Festival does not support the actions of Pink Pony, and in particular Christina Fallin, at our festival on Saturday night. We had no prior knowledge of the performance content, and we oppose her use and depiction of American Indian artifacts and symbols,” Bertman said. “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.”

The band said in the statement that “it was not our intention to offend anyone.

“Nothing about our performance at the Norman Music Festival was in any way designed to offend anyone,” the statement read. “We hope that people will do their own research before jumping to conclusions or believing the lies being fed to them.”

Crain said the protesters tried to remain to the side of the stage as to not disrupt the show, but at some points the crowd began to taunt them.

“It was very clear from the beginning we were there for a silent protest,; we weren’t there to disrupt the show in any way,” Crain said. “The beginning of it was fine. But they kind of started taunting us from the stage and got the crowd to flip us off and yell at us.”

At the end of the performance, Crain said she felt that overall their presence had some positive aspects.

“I felt like it was positive,” Crain said. “People were looking at the signs and asking questions.”

Native Americans React to Christina Fallin’s Fake War Dance Performance

 Christina Owen via Red Dirt Report

Christina Owen via Red Dirt Report

 

NORMAN, Oklahoma – Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country were alerted to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s daughter, Christina Fallin’s latest gaff when her band Pink Pony announced via Facebook “I heard Pink Pony was wearing full regalia tonight.” Protestors led by Choctaw musician Samantha Crain staged a protest at the Norman Music Festival in Oklahoma, as Native Americans were outraged on social media when Fallin wore 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.

Earlier that day, Crain said on her Facebook page, “Publicity stunt or not, even if they are lying, their attitudes, their insincerity, their irresponsibility, their general lack of caring about anything other than the advancement of themselves deserve a protest. So I will be at the Pink Pony show at NMF tonight. Midnight. black watch stage. Peacefully and quietly picketing with signs to tell them how I feel.”

Some of the signs said: “culture is not a costume”; “with all your power, what will you do?”; “you still owe us an apology”; “don’t trend on me”; “I am not a costume” and “please forgive us if we innocently oppose you.” The last sign was a take on Fallin’s non-apology after she posted a photo of herself misappropriating Native America regalia reserved for highly honored leaders for a glamour shot to promote her career. Faced with more Native American protests Fallin attempted to have Crain and supporters removed by security, but they were allowed to remain on private land adjacent to the stage.

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According to a tweet by Chahta Summer, a Choctaw mother, and recent law school graduate Fallin’s shawl with “sheep” written on the back was

a direct swipe at Native Americans. “Their supporters were calling us sheep the last time, saying we called her out to be PC, not thinking for ourselves,” Summer said.

Cherokee EONM member and blogger Jennie Stockley posted to Pink Pony’s Facebook page, “Apathy towards the clear feelings of other people is cruelty. 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.”

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The Fallin family has faced controversy with the Native American community both in Oklahoma and nationally last year when Governor Mary Fallin helped facilitate the forced adoption of a Cherokee girl, Veronica Brown, from her Cherokee family who were found to be fit parents by the courts 1,000 miles away to a white South Carolina couple who had used questionable adoption practices to dodge the Indian Child Welfare Act. That act seeks to protect Native American tribes from mass removal of their children; a potential violation of the Geneva Conventions on Genocide. Oklahoma has one of the largest Native American populations in the country and has 38 federally recognized tribes.

EONM asked the Riverwind Casino, Blackwatch Studios and Christina Fallin and Governor Mary Fallin to apologize for this direct attack affront to Native American concerns regarding the misuse of Native culture and purposeful insult to Native Americans in general.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/28/native-americans-react-christina-fallins-fake-war-dance-performance-154627?page=0%2C1