Injun givers… French fashionistas and Coca-cola
Isabel Marant, a French designer, and the clothing line Antiquité Vatic claim they have intellectual rights to their new winter designs, which somehow bear a striking resemblance to those worn by the Mixe-speaking residents of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca for … oh… forever. Marant has fessed up to “borrowing” the design that she is passing off as her own work, but Antiquité Vatic is seeking to obtain a patent to the design.
The municipality, and its inhabitants, are quickly discovering, legal protections for indigenous rights including ownership of intellectual and artistic work, basically doesn’t exist. Our “civilized” legal system, it appears, gives no rights to human beings as collective owners of non-material goods, but apparently does when the collective is based not on human existence, but on being collective financial resources.
At least the French fashionistas… greedy pigs that they are… don’t pretend they’re doing some sort of public service, and are open about stealing from the Mixes.
Unlike one of the tackier… if not the tackiest… Christmas season ads of all times, based on a “colonial fairy tale” of the white savior… and a
… clear demonstration of the presence of transnationals in the Indigenous territories of Oaxaca. In the last years, these companies have increasingly been taking over natural, economic and now cultural resources from the communities…
Also targeting Mixe-speaking communities, Coca-Cola is not stealing Mixte creative work outright, but instead is trying to sell itself as some sort of savior of the community, by way of selling the community on buying their products. Presented as a weird “public service project” in which obviously European-descended Mexicans bring a Christmas Tree (itself an odd cultural appropriation by north European Christians of Germanic Yule celebrations) made of wooden slats painted “Coke Red” (Pantone 484, which Coca-Cola did attempt to patent) with the words “Tökmuk n´ìjttumtat” (“Merry Christmas” in Mixte) tacked on to the Mixe.
Apparently, the “white man’s burden” is not only to steal the culture of the Mixe for the greater glory of French corporate interests, but to seduce the downtrodden Mixe into accepting the non-Mexican U.S. symbols of Christmas and … in so doing… buy foreign corporate products.
Bonilla, Isadora, “La propaganda del descaro de Coca-cola utilizando a indigena” (Regeneración, 25 November 2015)
“Empresa francesa reclama los derechos del diseño de blusa oaxaqueña” (Mientras tanto en México)
Franceses pelean diseño de blusa de Tlahuitoltepec (Oaxaca Pólitica)
“This New Coca Cola Ad Shows Mexico’s White Savior Problem” (Telesur TV)