Greta Van Fleet’s Josh Kiszka has apologised for wearing Indigenous costumes on stage and appropriating the culture.
The Michigan-based rock band’s lead singer has been criticised recently for sporting Indigenous costumes on stage across the last half-decade, and has addressed the concerns in a new Instagram post.
“To our Indigenous fans, I see you,” Kiszka’s message began. “I’ve taken time to listen and gather my thoughts. My appreciation for Indigenous culture is bigger than myself. I recognize the harm that ignorance can have on marginalised 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.”
He added: “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.”
Kiszka’s new statement comes after an Instagram hashtag called #SpeakUpGVF [Greta Van Fleet] was recently launched, with an account calling the frontman out for photos from 2017 where he was “donning copies of sacred Indigenous wear”.
“These photos have never been addressed or deleted despite being culturally appropriative and offensive to various Native cultures,” the Instagram account wrote. “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.”
Last month, Greta Van Fleet postponed a series of US headline shows after guitarist Jake Kiszka, Josh’s brother, was hospitalised with pneumonia.