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Until you're a member of a minority group, you likely cannot understand the visceral, day-in and day-out experience of life as a minority. From the passive, underhand comments and assumptions about your background or abilities to the blatant exclusion or derision of your presence, being a minority is challenging enough. Now imagine seeing the same people wielding the upper hand in the socio-economic lottery picking through your group's longstanding history and cultural practices for something they can leverage as their own.
In this episode, Tammy Eagle Bull, FAIA, spells out why cultural appropriation is wrong regardless of one's intent, how it perpetuates in the architecture and design community, and her own experiences with preconceptions in her everyday life. A member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, Eagle Bull is the first Native American woman in the United States to become a licensed architect, and the recipient of the AIA 2018 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. She is also a co-founder and the president of Encompass Architects, based in Lincoln, Neb.
In the April 2019 issue of ARCHITECT, Eagle Bull authored the op-ed "Stop Appropriating My Culture"; this episode dives deeper into her perspective and experiences. In 2018, she contributed to Our Voices: Indigeneity and Architecture (ORO Editions, 2018), the first book about Native American and indigenous architecture written by Native American and indigenous architects.
Episode 36: Let's Reconsider That Indigenous Tattoo, featuring Tammy Eagle Bull, is also available on SoundCloud and on iTunes.
This podcast episode was produced by Wanda Lau, Lauren Honesty, and Daniel Tayag.