As much as we enjoy photos of Jinger Duggar’s family, this latest photo was weird … and controversial.
Jeremy Vuolo shared a strange image of him with baby Felicity and a Native American tipi.
Followers are accusing him of cultural appropriation.
Jeremy Vuolo shared a curious picture on Instagram.
In the snap, he is holding baby Felicity while being obscured by what looks like fog.
Before them is a miniature tipi (also spelled teepee).
“Time for reflection,” Jeremy captioned the post, as if that explained anything.
It’s unclear if he is referring to the presence of a mirror in the photo.
He may have instead meant, on a more serious note, that he’s reflecting upon Native American culture.
Some fans were confused.
“What is this supposed to mean?” one commenter asks.
Others are worried that he’s misusing another culture’s symbols and traditions.
“If there is a deeper meaning behind this post please do share,” another commenter implores.
“If not,” they continue. “Please know that taking elements of another culture (especially one that has been as mistreated as Native Americans).”
That commenter concludes: “and using them flippantly for your own artistic design is completely inappropriate.”
Followers continued to try to figure out what Jeremy’s post was all about.
“I googled it, guys,” one commenter shares. “And some places are saying November is Native American month.”
“Perhaps as ‘Thanksgiving’ comes it’s a moment to reflect on the atrocities inflicted on the first nations people,” another suggested.
That would be very seasonally appropriate, folks. But others were concerned.
“It’s fairly regularly accepted that cultural appropriation is insensitive,” writes another.
“Benefitting from someone else’s culture,” another writes, is “not OK.”
Some jumped to some very different conclusions about Jeremy’s post.
“Why teepee?” one asked bluntly. “Are you racist too?”
Another jumped to a conclusion on the opposite end of the spectrum.
“Are you Native American?” one asked.
“Hard to understand the meaning of the pic,” another noted. “I am Apache though, so if you are that’s great.”
The Apache nation is not known for tipis.
Tipis are sometimes mistakenly attributed to all Native Americans, but were and are in fact unique to people of the Plains region of North America.
(Tipis are still used for some ceremonies, if no longer used for dwellings)
Native American cultures in other regions used different types of dwellings, including elaborate structures.
It’s understandable that people would be on their guard about Native American cultural heritage being misused by white people.
But one follower commented that this is not what is happening.
“Ya’ll, he is in Oklahoma at a Native American history museum,” the commenter writes. “Chill!!!!”
Tipis are often the subject of misunderstanding.
While tipis are conceptually similar to the European lavvu, they are part of a few Native American cultures and are not for anyone else to misuse.
The Native American cultural heritage more likely to be misused are things like war bonnets and terms like “spirit animal.”
But it doesn’t look like Jeremy Vuolo is doing any of that.
We’re happy to call out cultural appropriation or other wrongdoings when we see it. But that’s not what was happening here.
With context, we see that he was practicising cultural appreciation in a museum.
Let’s save our outrage for the people and actions that deserve it.