Greta Van Fleet lead singer Josh Kiszka has acknowledged and apologized for appropriating Indigenous culture in onstage costumes dating back at least five years. Writing on Instagram, Kiszka said: “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 marginalized 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.”
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.
This move by Kiszka comes as a response to the #SpeakUpGVF campaign on social media, which started about a week ago and called Kiszka out for posting a series of photos from 2017 where he and friends are “donning copies of sacred Indigenous wear.”
The #SpeakUpGVF note continues:
These photos have never been addressed or deleted despite being culturally appropriative and offensive to various Native cultures. 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.
See both statements in full below.