Daughter of Oklahoma Governor Poses in Headdress

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown March 7th, 2014 Blog

Buzzfeed reports that the daughter of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin posted pictures of herself in a headdress on her Facebook and Instagram account. The pictures were supposed to be promotional material for her band Pink Pony. Buzzfeed captured some of the comments from Twitter users about the pictures.

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Maybe she was confused and heard Indian band instead of Indie band.


After enough backlash, the band issued the usual sorry, not sorry apology.


“Please forgive us if we innocently adorn ourselves in your beautiful things. We do so with the deepest respect.”

Given her mother is Governor of a state with over a dozen tribes, you would think she would know better?

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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37 thoughts on “Daughter of Oklahoma Governor Poses in Headdress

  1. Have you been following Governor Fallin? As a resident of Oklahoma, let me just say that it must run in the family.

  2. Crowwitch says:

    Well let’s not get our knickers in a knot. How about you publish a photo of a First Nations sister in a “bra”. Do you think that non First Nations people would be all pissed at that? C’mon, there is one race that can think and read, the HUMAN race. We have to get along, stop the petty pissing contests and pull together against what is really important. We cannot ever change the past, we can change the now and the future by letting go of the “you did-they did” pettiness. Let’s all play nice. And, by the way, Indians are from India. First Nations Peoples/Aboriginal Peoples do not and I mean NOT use the word INDIAN. The past is gone. Love, Crow.

    • Obliya Tate' says:

      First off, there is a HUGE difference between a bra and a Headdress. As far as identifying yourself…I don’t care what you call yourself. The American Government treaties have been made with American Indians. We identify as American Indians in our legal dealings with the government. AIM identifies as American Indian. I personally am Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota. I agree that we need to get along, but this is so disrespectful to our people. The ‘real’ equivalent would be your Native Sister in a crown of thorns.

  3. Shannon Lusty says:

    How is she gonna act all naive about what headdresses mean to Natives when she is from Oklahoma??? SMH..

  4. Josh (muskogee co.) says:

    Try 39 tribes. My two cents on the whole headdress thing is not so much THAT a person wears one, but HOW it is worn and how it is made (authentically or mockingly). Yes, this headdress is made with dyed turkey feathers, but as far as the form and design go, I’ve seen similarly designed articles at powwows, and this photo doesn’t look like she’s being overtly disrespectful. It’s supposed to be artistic. And by the way, I’m in NO WAY a fan of Governor Fallin.

    • Tina Singleton says:

      I personally think it was in poor taste. If she was as connected as she says she is she would know not to do this. No comment from the governor hum just goes to show you Govenor Fallin thinks her children do no wrong and the rest of us are the bad ones. She is making a laughing stock out of Oklahoma and allowing her children to do the same. What do we expect from our political leaders she should have been voted out last term nod took her children with her.

  5. Annie Barnes says:

    Do something you know is wrong, give a pissy little apology and get all the publicity you wanted. Oh yeah, remind me not to buy anything by Pink Pony

  6. melissa frenchman says:

    I don’t know, as native american or Indiana as I prefer, maybe you should just look at it in a different light. Our heritage is so respected and admired that these white people want to be like us rather than be offended at every drop of a hat. None of the “white man” living today did any of the cruel unspeakable acts that our ANCESTOR’S went through. Maybe we should work on breaking the stereotypical crap and change the future that we have control of rather than continue to live in the past. You learn from the past to make a better future. Not to hold grudges and remain where we are.

  7. Fightsbear/Lakota says:

    Come on you Native guys ! Get over yourselves ! She looks great in a Headdress; certainly better than the Village People guy or the half million actors who have done “Chief” scenes in films for 70 years. Some of you Native Actors have no ancestral right to wear such a headdress but you do it, on film and for pow wows, where is the cry over that ?
    Do some thing to help provide work and food for the unemployed Natives across the country, then you won’t have time to sit around and be jealous about some poor white girl.Make your cause HELPING Natives instead of criticizing others…

  8. Josiah says:

    She is the Daughter of Governor Mary Fallin, who by the way has shown her true colors to Natives in Oklahoma in the Baby Veronica Case, yeah the apple does not fall far from the tree….

  9. Disrespectful to all Native Tribes. Mary Fallin is typical of all government leaders in the fact that none of them give a sh*t about the Native Americans. Let’s show her how we feel at the ballot box.

  10. When will people quit being offended needlessly. I am quite certain that when Indians are wearing Levi’s no white man gets offended and expects an apology …. this is very sad indeed. and pathetic.

  11. Bernie says:

    Correction her mother is the Governor or Oklahoma, NOT Tribes. Tribes have their own Government. 😉

  12. @bent when you try to compare wearing a geaddress to wearing levi jeans yiu show how ignorant youre truly being thus deeming yourself unworthy of posting that opinion

  13. Shawnee Woman says:

    Fallin’s daughter is only showing how the rich white people are expressing their entitlement they feel they deserve, why should she care who she insults, she is happy, just like her mommy was happy to team up with Nikki Haley to screw over a war veteran and force his daughter into a unethical adoption because the people who wanted the four year old are also rich white people who are entitled.

  14. Tina Singleton says:

    I am reading the white man could get offended by things the native American does. So answer me this has the native American population gone out of their way made promises that they did not keep. This is answered in one word NO. Has the white man always been disrespectful of the Native American yes starting with our treaties and still being disrespected today. Do you realize if it was not for the casinos in this state our school system would suck worse than it does. The white man said the lottery would be for education not its lining the white mans pocket while the tribal gaming systems have almost single handed funded our education system. Think we deserve a little respect especially from someone in the governor’s inner circle.

  15. Al Whitaker says:

    It is possible she wore the headdress in ignorance. The fact that there are 39? tribes in that state in no way indicates that the white population is taught tribal etiquette. When was the last time an attempt was made to educate the public the ways of our people? Knowledge does not come by osmosis. Each tribal member had to be taught by members of each tribe or you wouldn’t know, either.

  16. Timothy Gehrke says:

    The first step to “get along” is to be more respectful of people of other cultures. Of course if you know nothing of history that can cause you to misstep. If you live in Oklahoma and don’t know that the land you stand on was to be Indian land after all the other land was taken from them…well, maybe you should pick up a book instead of a war bonnet. Timothy

  17. Just Me says:

    I see authentic First Nation items for sale by First Nations People — jewelry, beaded clothing, checkbook covers, moccasins … all different kinds of ornamentations for sale to anyone with bank account. Yet, this woman wears a headdress in photograph and she is an object of scorn. Why? This makes no sense to me.

    • Becki Red Thunder says:

      A Headdress such as has been the subject of this debate is not just an item of apparel. It is a sacred item of apparel. For a Native person it may not be the “same as” but is as “sacred as” the crown of thorns for Christians which is why it is so offensive. Agreed that education is a key but the person in question in this feed should know better and by the way they gave their response probably does know better. If they had councilled with someone within the tribes of Oklahoma they would have known better and living there all their lives it’s obvious they never tried to know anything that they didn’t want to hear. Native Americans have tried for years to educate but have been forced to shut up. We have been evicted off our lands and forced to accept the “White Man’s Christian Ways” which involved things such as cutting of hair to fit in (not our ways), Our youth being sent to boarding schools where they were forced to take a “Christian” name and not allowed to speak their language or even speak anything Native. Many of these kids were beaten or even killed if they disobeyed and many were raped. This is what what was done to us. Educate the White man? Our ancestors have tried and now when we speak out we get this. It still doesn’t work to tell the White Culture what they do to wrong us. Do I hate the White man, NO. Do I treat anyone of any race different, NO. I, however have been disrespected and treated badly because of my heritage and I have German in me and don’t look like the ancestors I stand up to respect. For my brothers and sisters who are not as pale skinned it is sometimes worse. Educate? We are trying but it’s not easy with a society who feels entitled. There are many who DO respect and are great. These words are not for them for they have listened. This uproar is for those who have not and refuse to. A’ho.

  18. Not willing any longer to give these spoiled rich white folks a pass…Cher, Christine falling Heidi Klum, Victoria’s Secret, Dan Snyder…enough…this picture shows nothing but disrespect. For those who say we Natve people need to stop getting upset. Wrong. Disrespect is what got us dead..

    • little Eagle, Cherokee says:

      Cher is half Cherokee and knows a lot about our ways. She wore that headdress as a statement. Please know what you’re talking about before you speak

  19. Vance Hawkins says:

    Gov. Fallin is a TERRIBLE governor. Even on a windy day, the pecan doesn’t fall far from the tree that produced it.

    I remember my mother years back talking about my father’s family. She’d say, “Oh, those Hawkinses! They never forgive anything!” Hearing that made me try not to hold grudges.

    So maybe the daughter will learn to be different from her mother. But maybe like most of us, she won’t learn anything at all.

  20. Lucinda says:

    I don’t think she meant disrespect. The picture was meant to be elegant, art. I see a lot of hate directed at Caucasians by many races because of what “we” did. My father came here at 16, earned his citizenship, learned English, and worked hard his entire life only have public assistance once for maybe 3 months when there was an issue at the factory where he worked. I however face disrespect by other races who take things out on me because I am white. Let’s see, if I did that to someone else it would be called racism. Why don’t people look at the PERSON rather than just getting overly offended? Maybe take the time to write more for the rest of to learn what it means to your culture rather than just bitching. This is the perfect opportunity to educate and have people see it, rather than whine and bitch. Seize the opportunity and stop judging all white people based on the past. Some of us had NOTHING to do with it!

  21. I am Native from Oklahoma. When I look at this picture I see a woman who is envisioning the greatness and power of wearing a headdress and the feathers. The disrespect part is she is a woman first and we would not wear a headdress. Of course, the obvious, she is white but there are half-breeds who look white but are half bloods of Natives. And she is wearing the brightest red lipstick, which she should of put some war paint on her face and not her lips. I am optimistic and I am saying is wearing this headdress doesn’t make you a Native chief but giving props to the Native chiefs who wear them. She doesn’t know any better and if anything she is making a good picture for her art and including the Natives in doing so. Next time wear one feather and not so much lipstick!

  22. Catherine Todd says:

    As a “white” person whose great-grandfather came from Ireland during the great Potato Famine, I appreciated Lucinda’s comment very much, and I will use it to point out to the blacks here in the South where I unfortunately live now, that my ancestors were begrudged jobs with signs that said “No Irish Need Apply” and my father’s family that came from Hungary were all killed by the Nazis from Germany, and they weren’t even Jews… and they too were murdered and made into lampshades!

    Racism and hatred runs deep and is part of the Human Race. I will have spent my entire life trying to overcome it in thought, word, deed and action. I hope others continue to do so, too.

    I also appreciated some people pointing out that Native American Indians would do well to EDUCATE others about what is culturally appropriate. I had no idea that wearing this headdress could be deemed “offensive” after seeing it for sale for anyone to purchase, and people wearing it from young to old.

    Please, let us know more about your culture and what you might find “offensive.” If we are not told or shown how are we to know? How are we to know that although it’s OK for anyone to wear headdresses in the movies and on Halloween, it is forbidden in a photo?

    And I can assure you, wearing a “headdress” is nothing akin to wearing a “crown of thorns.” Jesus wearing a crown of thorns is a symbol of FORGIVENESS which brings about TRANSFORMATION and is the road to HEAVEN.

    Dear God please show us THE WAY.

    Gracias, Amen.

  23. Jeanel iolii Walker says:

    I have a question? not to start a war but the headdress in question is pink died feathers you know full well just by looking at it its fake. I thought the Native Americans of the first Nation used real feathers. Am I wrong on this?
    as for person and personality …I don’t know don’t care. what i do know is as an artist wanting to get my work out there. what better way to do so is to dress up in something confrontational and get everyone talking about it. You don’t see the Hawaiian to the Samoans culture forbidding others from wearing mumus or the hula outfit, you don’t see the Japanese forbidding others from wearing the kimono, they just stop and teach you how to do it properly! Somewhere back in my line i am native American but i can see now why my family was embarrassed to claim it. when i decided to try to learn some culture all i find is a lot of don’t don’t don’t…and no real teaching of who the people were and what they believe in.

  24. Catherine Todd says:

    Jeanei, you make an excellent point! You wrote:

    “You don’t see the Hawaiian to the Samoans culture forbidding others from wearing mumus or the hula outfit, you don’t see the Japanese forbidding others from wearing the kimono, they just stop and teach you how to do it properly!”

    I’ve seen the same kind of “outrage” from African American people getting angry about “white women trying to take over their hairstyles.” Yet how many black women actually wear their own hair natural? Very few anymore. Most have “taken over” the smooth, long, straight locks of white women and none of the white women have cared.

    So I don’t know why some people or cultures get upset and some don’t. I found forcing football teams to change their name to be pretty incredible. I can’t imagine being so touchy about my own Irish Hungarian heritage, even though my own immigrant great-grandparents came here and were told “No Irish need apply.” These signs were everywhere when Irish were looking for jobs. Then there was discrimination against their Catholic faith. They overcame this and one of them ended up the President of the United States.

    So I don’t know what to think about all these complaints. I’m sure some of it must stem from feeling disrespected and cheated all these years, yet my Irish and Hungarian relatives just made do and lived their lives and eventually this discrimination passed. It might be that their discrimination was a lot less, or easier to hide, or something.

    But you make very good points and I am glad to read your response. I was just about ready to quit reading this newsletter after seeing yet another person or group upset about what some “white person” is doing. I didn’t see anything wrong with the singing group’s response, either. So I must really be “out of the loop.”

    And I appreciated what you said about “not to start a war.” I hope my comment doesn’t do that either.

  25. ona messenger says:

    Ona Messenger
    Its a picture, just simply that and nothing more. It was not done for the reasons you keep implying . I really claim no nationality , I’m of the world , a lover of all things and am tired of being picked and poked at for things that have passed by hundreds of years . I thank you , and may Grandfather protect you from those that would do you harm .

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