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Clearing the Air: A Message from the McMullens

Clearing the Air: A Message from the McMullens

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.

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Comments

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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - October 12, 2020

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

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 - 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 - 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 - 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 - 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.

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