LEFT West Elm's Whirlwind
rug manufactured in 2014
worked with the Museum of Indian
Arts & Culture to design a Native
American-inspired rug based off
of a basket by the Tohono O'dham
people, ca. 1960.
By Pamela Kelly | Photography courtesy of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture
➤ continued on page 18
Appropriation is not appreciation. If you appreciate someone or something, you would never try to steal the person’s identity or their possessions—particularly for profit. You would instead show them respect by better understanding their plight.
To understand this subtle distinction, spend a minute and think about your family.
Each of you have rituals, stories, and personal effects that remind you of who you are,
where you came from, and what is important to you. Now imagine someone breaking
into your house one day and taking those very personal items—whether heirlooms,
relics, or photos—and selling them on the Internet for profit.
The person who stole them likely understands their value in and of themselves,
which is why they appropriated them for sale; and the buyer who acquires them
likely appreciates their beauty as well. But neither the person who stole them nor the
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How to respectfully engage with the world’s many sources of inspiration.