Makers of canoes, tents and archery products take note: An American company that made a name for itself making and selling Native American-style footwear has found it necessary to apologize for making moccasins while white.
Minnetonka Moccasins CEO David Miller issued a public self-denunciation for basing a business on what he called “Native American culture.” Along with the apology came a pledge to do more for “the culture to which we owe so much,” as reported by an approving Associated Press.
The Associated Press continues to make money off writing in English, despite having not invented the language, but no apologies have yet been made.
Miller flogged himself and his company mercilessly, wallowing in shame, as he admitted that “our original products, some of which are still sold today, have been appropriated from Native American culture. Not just the products have been appropriated; we have also come to learn that even the word ‘moccasin’ is an anglicization of the Ojibwe word ‘makizinan’,” Miller wrote. He also stated that the company acknowledged its crimes of appropriation in the summer of 2020, but qualified that the self-denunciation “was long overdue.”
“We deeply and meaningfully apologize for having benefited from selling Native-inspired designs without directly honoring Native culture or communities … We are dedicated to honoring our commitment to Native American communities with our actions going forward,” Miller wrote.
The company has previously said that they “privately supported Native causes in our home state of Minnesota” for years but lamented it “is not enough.”
Miller noted that Minnetonka has hired a real live Native American “reconciliation advisor.” The individual is an Anishinaabe artist and community activist and a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.