In what looks like an attempt to quell the anger of the Navajo Nation’s legal department, Urban Outfitters has gotten rid of all the products that had the name “Navajo” in their product descriptions. And by that we mean they just changed the names of those products.
The good people at Jezebel noticed last night that all 21 products described as “Navajo” have had the name of the tribe stricken from or replaced by other descriptors in their titles. The onerous “Navajo Hipster Panty” now goes by the name “Printed Hipster Panty”; the “Navajo Nations Crew Pullover” is now the “OBEY Printed Crew Pullover”.
While Urban Outfitters won’t comment about the changes, they likely stem from the ire this product assortment stirred up recently. Last week, a concerned Navajo woman named Sarah Houston Brown wrote an open letter to the retailer’s corporate management, reminding them that selling products falsely claiming to be of Native American provenance is illegal — and so is using the Navajo trademark without express permission of the Navajo Nation. In fact, the Nation wrote to Urban Outfitters earlier this summer asking the store to stop selling these products.
Changing the products’ names and descriptions isn’t exactly stopping, and we don’t know that it will do anything to ameliorate the hurt undoubtedly felt by the Nation’s hundreds of thousands of members. But it is a start. We’re just upset it took Urban Outfitters so long to come around.