Greta Van Fleet singer and songwriter Josh Kiszka apologized for appropriating Indigenous culture in costumes used on stage dating back at least five years.
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“I’ve taken time to listen and gather my thoughts,” wrote Kiszka on Instagram. “My appreciation for Indigenous culture is bigger than myself. I recognize the harm that ignorance can have on marginalized communities, something I’d never want to perpetuate.”
Kiszka said the Chippewa tribe, in particular, had a profound impact on his life, after being exposed to their ceremonies and customs during his early years growing up in Michigan and made a charitable donation to the First Nations Development Institute.
The move comes after #SpeakUpGVF social media campaign advocating for Indigenous issues, called Kiszka out for posting a series of photos from 2017 featuring him and friends “donning copies of sacred Indigenous wear.”
“These photos have never been addressed or deleted despite being culturally appropriative and offensive to various Native cultures,” read the #SpeakUpGVF statement. “Indigenous fans and those practicing allyship have tried to contact Josh and ask him to remove the photos and address the cultural appropriation, but he continues to stay silent and the photos continue to stay up.”
The statement added, “Remaining silent on this is upsetting and ignorant as it upholds racist ideologies that Indigenous cultures are simply a costume, when they are sacred and not open for appropriation.”
In his post, Kiszka went on to say that “Hate, disrespect, and prejudice of any kind are not welcome in this community.” He added, “As I’ve come into adulthood, I’ve been able to grow and learn. This growth has not stopped and will not stop here.”
The band recently revealed rescheduled dates for their Dreams in Gold Tour. The spring tour was postponed to fall, following the hospitalization of guitarist and brother Jake Kiszka, who was hospitalized for pneumonia in March.
Photo: Alysse Gafkjen