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Airbnb urged to rethink ‘true Sioux style’ TeePee ad by Native Americans

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By John McCarthy | Media editor

May 31, 2017 | 3 min read

Home rental app Airbnb has invoked the anger of some Native American groups for plying a TeePee experience in California’s Joshua Tree National Park as ‘true Sioux style’.

The Memorial Day weekend ad, that appeared on Facebook and Instagram following an outrage-driven deletion on both platforms offered a "250-square foot tipi, which accommodates up to 7 people" that features "the comforts of a cozy master bedroom" as an "unconventional getaway".

One issue was that the California site was half the country away from where the Sioux was historically situated in, and around, the American Midwest.

Airbnb

AirBnb 'Sioux-style' ad

Another issue was underlined by Judith Le Blanc, director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. In an interview with Buzzfeed News, she said that “Airbnb is profiting off of racist stereotypes,” adding "When Airbnb uses a racist stereotype it’s buttressing social norms that oppress Indian people."

An Airbnb spokesperson has apologised for the “language” used in the ad; “we want to apologize to everyone for our poor judgement".

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