A Tribe Called Red plays the 40th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival.
The Tall Tree Music Festival on Vancouver Island had a no-headdress policy – they even confiscated headdresses at the door.
—Ian Campeau, A Tribe Called Red
To call 2013 a banner year for A Tribe Called Red would be a major understatement.
The trio of Aboriginal DJs has an album that critics are raving about, has been touring the world, and, most importantly, has pioneered a ground-breaking new music style that's all their own. Called "Powwow-step," their mash-up of indigenous beats and dance music has taken off in a huge way.
"We've been playing non-stop," says group member Ian Campeau, "and it's festival season now, so we've been bouncing around all over the place."
But as much as A Tribe Called Red has been embraced by music fans around the world, the group's newfound fame has come with a particularly troubling challenge.
Some non-Aboriginal partygoers have been showing up to their shows in headdresses and face paint. And while the vast majority of fans know why such an outfit could be considered offensive and inappropriate, not every club and festival-goer gets the message.
"It happens fairly regularly," says Campeau, "the amount of times people show up to our shows in 'redface' is more frequent than I would like."
Unfortunately, this sort of "cultural appropriation" seems to be having a moment.