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Greta Van Fleet's Josh Kizska apologises for cultural appropriation of Indigenous culture

Greta Van Fleet
(Image credit: C Olivera/Getty Images for Universal Music Group)

Greta Van Fleet's Josh Kiszka has issued a statement of apology after being accused of cultural appropriation by fans on social media.

The frontman, who frequently sports feather headdresses and garments belonging to Indigenous communities, has been called to address the accusations following a fan-established hashtag campaign known as #SpeakUpGVF.

Through the campaign, fans discovered images from the vocalist's social media from 2017, showing himself surrounded by friends garbed in copies of sacred Indigenous wear. 

An Instagram account created primarily to challenge the singer over the resurfaced images declared: "These photos have never been addressed or deleted despite being culturally appropriative and offensive to various Native cultures.

“Indigenous fans and those practicing allyship have tried to contact Josh and ask him to remove the photos and address the culture appropriation, but he continues to stay silent and the photos continue to stay up.

“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 a statement, the singer has addressed the issue and apologised, and has also sent a charitable donation to the First Nations Development Institute.

"To our indigenous fans, I see you. I've taken time to listen and gather my thoughts. My appreciation for indigenous culture is bigger than myself," Kiszka began.

"I recognize the harm that ignorance can have on marginalized communities, something I'd never want to perpetuate. Hate, disrespect and prejudice of any kind are not welcome in this community. 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 Chippewa tribe has had a particularly profound impact on my life having been exposed to their ceremonies and customs during my early years growing up in Michigan. I have made a charitable donation [to] the First Nations Development Institute to help keep indigenous traditions like theirs alive and well. Should you want to support with me, please visit firstnations.org. Peace, Love, Unity & Equality. Always. Josh."

Last month, guitarist Jake Kiszka was hospitalised with pneumonia, forcing the band to postpone several of their US headline shows. Currently, the Michigan classic rock-revivalists are in the midst of their Dreams In Gold tour across the States in aid of their 2021 album The Battle at Garden’s Gate.

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Liz Scarlett
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.