OKLAHOMA CITY – As Gov. Mary Fallin is touring part of the state that was devastated by a weekend tornado, another member of the Fallin family is making headlines.
Christina Fallin, and her band Pink Pony, performed at the Norman Music Festival last weekend.
In Native American culture, only the brave and powerful members of a tribe were given the opportunity to wear headdresses during special occasions.
In March, Fallin wore a red headdress in a promotional photo for the band, which was then posted to social media sites.
Shortly after, members of the Native American community expressed their displeasure with the photo, which was taken down and replaced by a statement.
The statement read in part, “Growing up in Oklahoma, we have come into contact with Native American culture institutionally our whole lives—something we are eternally grateful for. With age, we feel a deeper and deeper connection to the Native American culture that has surrounded us. Though it may not have been our own, this aesthetic has affected us emotionally in a very real and meaningful way. Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things.”
This past weekend, the band performed at the Norman Music Festival.
Before the performance, a member of the band posted about the group’s outfits for the evening.
A handful of silent protesters stood by the stage as the band began to play.
They were not wearing authentic Native American regalia.
However, Fallin was wearing a shawl with the word “Sheep” on it.
Some witnesses claim she did an interpretation of a “Native American war dance.”
In a statement from Pink Pony they stated their performance was not meant to be offensive.
“Nothing about our performance was connected in any way to Native American culture … We are sincerely sorry to anyone who was offended by the photograph that started this controversy.”
Governor Mary Fallin released a statement saying she does not support her daughter’s actions.
“On Saturday night, while performing at the Norman Music Festival, my daughter acted in a way that I believe was inappropriate. 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.” said Gov. Fallin. “I have great respect for Oklahoma’s tribal members and I celebrate their traditions and culture. As governor, I work 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.”
The Norman Music Festival is speaking out on the issue.
Gene Bertman, chairman for the Norman Music Festival, released the following statement:
“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. 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.”