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by Halley Sanford October 11, 2020 4 min read 40 Comments

Some of you are aware of the latest tribulation we’ve been facing as a family and a company, and some of you may be blissfully unaware. Some of you got caught in the crossfire, and some of you have graciously reached out to us or posted positive messages of support. As always, in times of trial or triumph, our Wolf Pack has showed up with understanding and encouragement. We appreciate you having our back, and we want you to know we have yours.

We’re not out to change the minds of the willfully ignorant -- those who choose outrage over inquiry, and aren’t interested in learning about who we are, what we stand for, and our relationship with various cultures -- but we do believe the best defense we can provide our Wolf Pack is information and education. So, we want to candidly address the recent happenings and be very transparent about the reality behind the misconceptions.

What happened:

A couple weeks ago, one of our social media posts started garnering some negative attention. The Black Hills Top and the Black Hills Skirt – that beautiful orange velvet outfit – struck a chord with some Native Americans as an attempt by us to appropriate ancient ceremonial regalia. A few online activists took to sharing the post with outrage in some Native American social media groups as a call to action which sparked some mob mentality – most of which was uninformed and irrelevant to the original upset at that point. And some of it got downright nasty and personal, as some of you experienced, as these cyber warriors said some very vile things directly to y’all or aimed at y’all. So that’s when we had to draw the line – we will burden the criticism, but we will not stand for an attack on our customers.

How we handled it (in the moment):

We disabled commenting on the post, and eventually removed it altogether. We left open the channels for them to contact us directly, so they were still able to voice their concerns, without subjecting anyone else to the wrath.

What we’re doing about it, short term:

We are taking precautions to be careful and cognizant with all of our posts – what images we are sharing and what verbiage we are using. We are also monitoring pretty diligently so that we can catch any attacks early.

What we’re doing about it, big picture:

First and foremost, we have published our Cultural Impact Statement to our website. It is very transparent, which we’ve always wanted to be – and it addresses everything from our attitude and admiration toward the culture, our collaborations with Native American artisans and the platform we provide for them, how we aim to educate, and the ways in which we are contributing to the advancement of Native Americans – especially artists – via scholarships and internship opportunities. Additionally, it addresses the development of our Cultural Council, which is a collection of people from different walks of life, with whom we will convene semi-annually to have frank but friendly discussions about how we are being received in their respective communities, which will allow us to review and reevaluate and continue to grow as people and a brand.

Bottom line:

We want to be on the right side of this. We want to do what’s right, and we want to celebrate and educate. We are committed to learning and growing, and dedicated to becoming a PART of the conversation, rather than the victim of it. And while we’re on the topic of conversation, we want to arm you with information if, God forbid, you find yourself in confrontation. So, we’ve compiled some of our most frequently asked questions, and our answers to them.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does Double D Ranch even work with Native American artists?Yes. Of course we do. We always have, we’ve just never felt the need to tout it. We have recently created a page on our website that lists all of the artisans with whom we’ve collaborated – some Native American, some not. And we are committed to doing a better job of making all of our collaborations public and educating our customers about the artists via our Double Talk blog.

Do y’all give credit to the artists who create the jewelry pieces y’all sell?

We try to research and attribute makers if we can. We consult Native American authorities on the subject and use our huge reference library to help identify and document. If something is not identified, it is because we cannot be certain about its maker. All contemporary jewelry is marked with the maker. This information is always found in the description of the piece.

Do y’all acknowledge the different people and cultures who inspire your designs?Constantly. In our catalogs, in our blog posts, on our social media – we pretty much can’t STOP talking about where we draw inspiration.

 

“DDR turned off comments on their social media accounts to prevent people from speaking out.”Incorrect. We disabled comments because they were getting vulgar, vile, and downright threatening, and above all, we disabled them to protect Y’ALL. All of our channels to contact us directly are still open and constantly monitored. We always respond and we are happy to have a two-way conversation to address legitimate concerns when they are voiced. We do not dignify baseless name-calling or threats, and we believe that kind of behavior and speech has no right to exist on our public forums.

 

Do any of the proceeds from Double D Ranch go to indigenous peoples and causes?Yes. Again, giving back is something we’ve always done, but we never felt the need to talk about. We were raised to do good deeds because we felt it in our hearts, not for glory and praise, so that’s always something we’ve kind of kept close to the vest. Moving forward, as counterintuitive as it feels and as uncomfortable as it makes us, we will be more vocal and public about our contributions.

Additionally, we invite all of you to read our Cultural Impact Statement to give you a more thorough understanding of where we stand and what we’re doing on the subject.


40 Responses

Heather
Heather

October 19, 2020

Your way of handling the difficult situation was extremely graceful, kind and caring. Your post and your prose is beautiful like your clothing.
I’m a 2nd generation American from a tribal people and clan people. Our people were called the “wild hairs” (in some historic references) because of our dreadlocks. We wore woven clothing that served many purposes. When I taught reading (decades ago) at an elementary school on the Navajo Reservation (in southern Utah), the kids loved that, I too, was tribal and had a clan. Are you Stumped yet?
I’m Scottish! And Like I saw in a comment mentioned above from a Native American woman, I get excited when I see references to my culture and feel proud. I love it when I see the use of Scottish clan plaids in Designer’s clothing. I wore plaid woolen kilts as a young girl with great pride…that my grandfather would bring from Scotland. Referencing a culture in a beautiful artistic way is a tribute and a compliment I feel. But if anyone took offense, then let’s open a dialogue with each other and teach us how and why it offended—not move immediately into hatred.

2Country4Nashville/Jo-el & LeAnne
2Country4Nashville/Jo-el & LeAnne

October 17, 2020

We are SO thrilled that we found DDR, and all the ladies/men of the Wolfpack! Your clothes are INCREDIBLE, and the STORIES behind each line and each piece is a personal look into the history and influences behind them. We PROUDLY wear each piece we own!

Sandra Whitlock
Sandra Whitlock

October 12, 2020

I’ve only been a customer for a year only because I didn’t know about DDR until I saw it in my Cowboys and Indians Magazine. Since, I have ordered a lot of things. I liked the native tops;etc. as I have Indian on both sides of my family. I am peroud to find such items to show my heritage. You explain about the styles and they are beautiful. You have handled this negative attacks with grace and you show your love of Indian culture. I do not read those sites. Too much hatedred and lies. I will continue to buy DDR and be proud to wear it! Love to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr James Gruhl
Dr James Gruhl

October 12, 2020

UNESCO’s website has a searchable map that shows all vulnerable to extinct cultures and languages, and the richest area in the world with these endangered cultures is the United States with 191, BECAUSE endangered cultures are revered, appreciated and preserved by people in the U.S.  The extinction of unique cultures results in the irrecoverable loss of historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge.  Those who want to be offended by “cultural appropriation,” are announcing their ignorance of “cultural appreciation.”

Colette Stresak
Colette Stresak

October 12, 2020

As usual, you speak with honor and dignity. I wear my DDR proudly and support you 100%

Lisa Henderson
Lisa Henderson

October 12, 2020

The Double D family is a special group. You guys give so much of yourselves in an effort to make the customer happy. I’m so sorry you had to deal with such negativity in this difficult era we are in. Thank you for always being transparent and for your excellent customer service! God bless you all.

Carolyn Roach
Carolyn Roach

October 12, 2020

I have loved your fabulous clothing forever and will continue to purchase them. I love all your designs and feel that you honor Native Americans by your designs not ridicule or make any bad statements. I love their jewelry and have a lot of it and clothing that resembles theirs and love it all. Keep on keeping on and those of us that love you will too. I love Mexican clothing and cherish pieces that resemble theirs too.

shannon wright
shannon wright

October 11, 2020

Oh man, I am so sorry that this has happened to you. It is a shame that today we have to walk on egg shells about most everything. I believe, however, that your staff have handled this situation graciously and with the best interest to not only those offended but to those of us that love you and all the beauty that you bring to all of us who are honored to wear your designs. May God watch over you and protect you

Paula M Hausvick
Paula M Hausvick

October 11, 2020

You have always shown respect for the Native culture and I cannot imagine how you could have been accused of anything different. I have followed you for 30 years and always thought you did a wonderful job of keeping the spirit of the southwest (especially the Native spirit) alive and in front of the American people.

Karen
Karen

October 11, 2020

I love DD Ranch and have even considered moving to south TX, and begging to be a part of the team! If those of comments were aware, the compassion shared when introducing a new line and what inspired the creativity for the product; they “should” be able to appreciate non-biased individuals. What a shame people do not have such appreciation for their ethnicity (whatever it may be) that thoughts or interpretations of words of others matter anyway. This world is in a disastrous state with mindsets of evil.

Melissa Bradley
Melissa Bradley

October 11, 2020

I worked(model) the first apparell market you folks showed—all i heard was about the Double D clothes line! You are good people who love GOD and HE has blessed you beyond measure. There are a lot of people without JOY these days—your parents taught you to do right—keep doing it.
Sorry there are so many unhappy folks who want to spread their sadness, we must pray for them—-you have NOT fallen for it
Be thankful and know your blessings.

Jo Anne Duncan
Jo Anne Duncan

October 11, 2020

Fake outrage by a faceless mob .Reminds me of the townseople with torches outside the jail in the old Westerns. Your resonse is Professional and Responsible. Will it satisfy the Outraged? It has been my experience that you cannot deal rationally with irrational people and people who want to be outraged .

Nina Jo Lerner
Nina Jo Lerner

October 11, 2020

You are wonderful people, amongst a sea of those that are not. OF COURSE you adore the artistry and culture of the Indigenous People. That is what you do, and you do it as authentically and beautifully as i’ve seen.
If you would be good enough, to speak on behalf of the severe problem that is occurring: BLM rounding up the wild horses and mustangs as we speak, to ruin their lives and ultimately kill them in the process. THIS HAS TO BE PREVENTED FROM THIS DAY ON.
FREE THE WILD HORSES and CLOUD FOUNDATION ARE MAKING ALL EFFORTS TO HELP THE LIVES OF THESE MAGNIFICENT HORSES AND MUSTANGS. PLEASE DONATE AND SUPPORT. YOUR FANS AS WELL. With much Love and Respect, Nina Jo Lerner

Maryann Gryder
Maryann Gryder

October 11, 2020

Double D Ranch has always created artful merchandise a tribute to our culture, past and present. As a customer, I have always respected their profound interest in the details, history and quality of their merchandise. Their dedication to celebrating the cowboy culture, the Native American culture, and country music is why their customers are so loyal.

Pat Neveux
Pat Neveux

October 11, 2020

. Well said and right on point. I am proud to be a pack member.
Pat Neveux
#20

Kathleen L Friesen
Kathleen L Friesen

October 11, 2020

How unfortunate. I have worn DDR for several years and it has always been the Native American inspired pieces that I have purchased (now heading toward 150 pieces). I am not Native American, but have felt my clothing in effect has promoted a conversation about how overlooked the culture has been as a whole and have been proud to do even a little part to bring that culture into a conversation that they have been overlooked way too often. Please do not let the negatives dissuade DDR from continuing to provide such beautiful tributes to the Native Nations.

Jan Drake
Jan Drake

October 11, 2020

I made one mistake in my previous comment. And that was the title of the song that I was quoting. It was not Orange Blossom special, it was Cherokee fiddle by Johnny Lee. I like to be exact. XOXO

Bettye-Lynn
Bettye-Lynn

October 11, 2020

I am proud to be a member of the DD Wolfpack. I have been a supporter of DD Wear for many years and am very proud to wear it and will continue to be!

Carol Lee Lyons
Carol Lee Lyons

October 11, 2020

Beautifully written and I will proudly purchase and wear your pieces for another 20+ years as I have done for the previous +/- 25.

Linda Searle
Linda Searle

October 11, 2020

Thank you for being such a positive role model through these tough times we currently are living. Your strong family values, work ethic, and compassion for others is a rarity in today’s world. I have proudly worn DDR since 1990, when I found it in a little boutique in Durango, CO. Every piece I own gets me compliments, plus the design and quality make them timeless. Thank you for your professionalism and friendship. I am proud to be a part of this Wolf Pack.

Donna M Murray
Donna M Murray

October 11, 2020

I was unaware that this had happened and am so sorry that you experienced it! Your response is amazing – very gracious, respectful, strong and informative. I think that Double D Ranch items are amazing and so enjoy the creativity. Thank you for creating and sharing beauty with the world!

Silvi Millard
Silvi Millard

October 11, 2020

KEEP UP YOUR EXCELLENT WORK!!!!!! I have learned SO VERY MUCH about Native American history through your FABULOUS designs and WONDERFUL posts!!!

Jan Drake
Jan Drake

October 11, 2020

You answered with strength and dignity. Good for you! Frankly, I think that there are those that are just out looking for a fight! They are looking to be offended. The things that you create and sell our artistic and beautiful. Don’t be bullied by the ones who want to find a problem.
And remember the words that were in the song “Orange Blossom special“
“Now the Indians are dressing up like cowboys, and the cowboys are putting leather and turquoise on”! This was supposed to say a good thing!!!!
Best wishes!

Lacee Beaulieu
Lacee Beaulieu

October 11, 2020

I am truly impressed with your professionalism! Your compassionate and factual response is a model for other businesses and families that get bullied by mobs that misrepresent the context, intent and meaning of words and images, and whose purpose is to push a political agenda. Your products are as beautiful as your family and your customers stand strong in support of you! Thank you for being transparent, for taking the time to provide an explanation, for continuing your great work in your community and for not caving in to the ridiculous nonsense from the mob!

Christina ONeill
Christina ONeill

October 11, 2020

I’m with you 100%. I don’t get offended when people of all ethnicities, cultures and races dress up like leprechauns or Irish on St Patrick’s Day. Nor am I offended by the use of the leprechaun and “The Fighting Irish” by Notre Dame or the use of the “Celtics” in the NBA. If a certain segment wants to condemn non Native Americans wearing traditional Native American styles, the Native Americans who make a living from producing these items are the ones who will be primarily hurt. By the way referring to the ND team as “The Fighting Irish” is a misnomer. The Irish are very peaceful other than the 900 years that they have been fighting Great Britain.

Doris Janowski
Doris Janowski

October 11, 2020

Keep up the good work and know that you have many quiet supporters.

Molly Holland
Molly Holland

October 11, 2020

Fabulous statement I love you all more.

Pamela Cofer
Pamela Cofer

October 11, 2020

Love the new Artists page!

Elizabeth Tate
Elizabeth Tate

October 11, 2020

Thank you for the open and honest, heartfelt message. Y’all are doing a wonderful job with your designs and raising praise to our Native American People.
We can choose to turn the other cheek when people are mean and cruel. You have done that with dignity and i honor that. We were raised with the same honor code, and I’m proud of that.
God Bless all of you and us, we are a Tribe and I’m grateful.

Pamela Cofer
Pamela Cofer

October 11, 2020

You are a great company, I stand with you.

Shari Lawrence
Shari Lawrence

October 11, 2020

I voice my opinion with the dollars I choose to spend and where I spend those dollars. I will continue to support Double D Ranch by purchasing their products.

Brandi Holcomb
Brandi Holcomb

October 11, 2020

Bottom line, I love you all. Thank you for celebrating diverse culture. Thank you for ALWAYS educating us on the pieces. I enjoy your blogs. I enjoy the live bits on social media. Whenever I wear DDR I feel empowered and beautiful, not because of the item worn but because of the love, strength and equality that DDR stands for. As a Native American Indian descendant DDR makes me proud. The pieces are well made and beautiful. When I don my turquoise and silver, that has been passed down, with my DDR I feel my heritage come alive. Thank you for being genuine. Thank you for being beautiful. Thank you for educating. Thank you for keeping the spirit of the west alive. Viva la DDR. Viva La Wolfpack! May God continue to bless you.

DONNA JOBE
DONNA JOBE

October 11, 2020

I did not read the original referred comments. I do not like negative comments on beliefs, cultural, religions, sex, race, traditions, or politics. All of our people need to uplift each other at this horrific time we are in. I have known of Double D Ranch for many years and was so happy to meet the family and see what they stand far. Being apart of the pack, I have become friends with so many along with the McMullens who were a great comfort to me when needed a couple
of years ago. Thanks for sharing the message. Happy days ahead!!!!

PEGGY JUNEAU
PEGGY JUNEAU

October 11, 2020

Thank you for comments about your work with Native Artisans. I did not hear the negative comments about your company on social media. Soo many other “things” going on now. Thank you.

Brandi Holcomb
Brandi Holcomb

October 11, 2020

Bottom line, I love you all. Thank you for celebrating diverse culture. Thank you for ALWAYS educating us on the pieces. I enjoy your blogs. I enjoy the live bits on social media. Whenever I wear DDR I feel empowered and beautiful, not because of the item worn but because of the love, strength and equality that DDR stands for. As a Native American Indian descendant DDR makes me proud. The pieces are well made and beautiful. When I don my turquoise and silver, that has been passed down, with my DDR I feel my heritage come alive. Thank you for being genuine. Thank you for being beautiful. Thank you for educating. Thank you for keeping the spirit of the west alive. Viva la DDR. Viva La Wolfpack! May God continue to bless you.

Beth Carlson
Beth Carlson

October 11, 2020

I appreciate this timely message. I understand the odd feeling of having to PROVE your good works, as I was raised to do good works in silence, without accolade.
I would like to address the the issue of younger Franz family members giving likes on social media to hard core right wing accounts. In light of our nations’ great racial divisions, especially amplified by conservative pundits, I find it hard to reconcile this message with family members supporting those accounts that tout racially divisive views.

Lisa Emerine
Lisa Emerine

October 11, 2020

Keep on keepin on!!! Love DDR!! You are an inspiration to me!! Always excited to open your email and see what Magic you have brought me!! Maybe one day you would consider carrying my jewelry. Harley and Maudes on Facebook or Instagram!! I’m a self taught one woman show and I am native. Been making jewelry for over 12 years now. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Skyland WindRyder
Skyland WindRyder

October 11, 2020

I was blissfully unaware of the situation but I appreciate the grace in which you are handling it and will continue to support DDR.

Fontana
Fontana

October 11, 2020

I trained in Cultural Anthropology, and we distinguish between appropriation and misappropriation. The first is common in all arts, in the sense artists build on the ideas of others. The second means something done maliciously, demeaning to the source. It’s important to distinguish the two. People know whether it’s something mean spirited and no way could your store be seen as disrespectful. Fashion and style are tribute.

Our Western past is multi Cultural, full of beauty and cruelty. We can work it out as modern people by doing exactly what you’re doing, talking and sharing, but not accepting harassment. Sounds like you got dogpiled but you are on it!

Paula C Reumont
Paula C Reumont

October 11, 2020

Thank you for explaining this in depth to the pack. You have done so with such grace and dignity

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