The Spunky Squaw, a Stephenville-based online boutique that was ensnared in a controversy in October for their use of what many believe was a racist slur in their business name, recently had their website taken down, causing a collective sigh of relief from American Indian activists who were campaigning against the business.
But the celebration was short-lived as the website went back up Monday.
GoDaddy, which hosts the website, said Spunky Squaw was taken down originally because of a billing issue.
But Brooke Adams, the Tarleton State University student who started the online store, said the website was only temporarily under construction while more products were being added to the boutique.
She also added, “There will be charges pressed on a lot of people who keep harassing me.”
Adams isn’t the only one putting up a fight. An online petition calling for the business to change its name has received more than 10,000 signatures. Several Facebook and Instagram pages are dedicated to boycotting the company or calling for a name change. Ashley Younger of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma said the Navajo Nation already sent Adams a cease-and-desist letter regarding items on the website marketed as “authentic Navajo.” It’s illegal to sell a product that is falsely advertised as being authentically native-made under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.
Although comments from both Adams and GoDaddy suggest that these calls haven’t quite worked, Younger said people are still working behind the scenes to change the company’s name.
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“I have been in contact with tribal attorneys and others advocating a way for the name change,” she said.
As far as whether the temporary shutdown will slow Spunky Squaw from doing business as usual, it seems not. As recently as Monday, the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages seemed to take the website’s shutdown in stride, advertising their business outside of the traditional online store with posts saying, “Comment size and email and we will send you an invoice.”
Despite the company’s persistence, Younger and other indigenous people hope the instability of the website and the Instagram account, which has been taken down at least twice, is a sign of change.
“Despite the continual discrimination that this store’s employees as well as its brand represents, I am glad for the conversation it has started,” Younger says. “I hope that one thing everyone can take from this situation is the fact that discrimination towards indigenous peoples is not a thing of the past; a minority group with historical and modern patterns of discrimination enacted against them deserve the right to stand up for themselves, and it is important to acknowledge and listen to these individuals.”