Halloween 2016 is almost here! While there are many different Halloween costumes to choose from, a woman from Canada is reminding the Internet which costumes to avoid.
On October 3, Alicia Allard told her friends on Facebook that "dressing up as chiefs and Indian princesses is cultural appropriation."
Allard's ancestral background includes Anishinaabe, Metis and the Georgina Island First Nation in Ontario, as well as Italian heritage.
"Cultural appropriation is where the outsiders of peoples who have been oppressed by the dominating power systems (mainly white-colonial systems), use (and misuse) the dress, regalia, spiritual practices, or other cultural elements out of context (of those who historically/presently have been oppressed)," she wrote on Facebook.
Allard's post included a photo of her wearing a traditional aboriginal dress while holding a sign with the hashtag #IAmNotACostume. She encouraged her friends to share the photo, and it's received over 700 shares as of October 25.
Allard's viral message serves as a reminder that culture appropriation should be avoided — especially on Halloween.
"Halloween as a holiday has a history of being focused on inversion of power," professor Susan Scafidi of Fordham University told Refinery29. "When you dress up as a culture that you are currently oppressing, or have subjugated in the past, you're not inverting anything, you're just kicking them when they are down…[and] reinforcing current power structures in an offensive way."
The message is simple: borrowing costumes based on other cultures can be extremely offensive. By avoiding these outfits on Halloween, you can make the holiday a more comfortable experience for all participants.
And Allard's viral Facebook photo seems to be catching on, as other people on social media are sharing their own photos in support of her hashtag: