Three Montreal music festivals have banned festival-goers from wearing First Nations headdresses as fashion accessories at their upcoming summer events. The festivals where headdress ban has been adopted include the Osheaga Arts & Music Festival, Heavy Montreal Festival and IleSoniq. All three festivals take place at Parc Jean-Drapeau.
The headdress, which over the years has become a fashion accessory popular amongst celebrities and festival goers, is an important symbol in Native American culture. One that recognizes a select few people who have done something special to deserve it – it is seen as one of the culture’s highest honours, which is why it is seen as a great offence when non-natives choose to wear them for fun.
The Osheaga Arts & Music festival made an announcement on Facebook, stating: “The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honour their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory.”
Heavy Montreal made a similar announcement, posting: “Please note that First Nations Headdresses are not permitted at the festival. The First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honour their people, Heavy Montreal asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory.”
Last year, Bass Coast Festival in British Columbia took action against to deter the casual adornment of headdresses. The festival was being held on indigenous land and the enforcement of the no-headdress policy was put in place to respect the dignity of aboriginal people.