Greta Van Fleet singer Josh Kiszka has acknowledged that he appropriated Indigenous culture in the past. The vocalist was the target of a recent hashtag campaign (#SpeakUpGVF) calling for him to address and remove a series of photos on his Instagram page showing him and his friends wearing Indigenous garments back in 2017.
The mission statement of the #SpeakUpGVF campaign read, in part, “Indigenous fans and those practicing allyship have tried to contact Josh and ask him to remove the photos and address the cultural appropriation, but he continues to stay silent and the photos continue to stay up. Remaining silent on this is upsetting and is ignorant as it upholds racist ideologies that Indigenous cultures are simply a costume, when they are sacred, and not open for appropriation. Fans created #SpeakUpGVF as a way to get Josh’s and/or GVF’s attention to request that the photos be removed and request an apology to Indigenous people.”
Kiszka, who also wore Indigenous-influenced outfits during his band’s 2018 tour (see photo above), didn’t issue a direct apology but did take responsibility for his past actions in a new open letter posted to his Instagram account on Monday (April 18th). The singer also explained that he had a deep affinity for Indigenous culture, particularly that of the Chippewa tribe, while also disclosing that he made a charitable donation to the First Nations Development Institute:
“To our indigenous fans,
I see you. 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.”
It appears that the photos in question have been removed from the singer’s Instagram page, with no such images visible dating back to his first post in 2017.
Greta Van Fleet briefly embarked on a 2022 Spring tour before guitarist Jake Kiszka’s bout with pneumonia forced the band to postpone the remaining dates after just a few concerts. At the kickoff show in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on March 10th, Kiszka wore a gold jumpsuit.
The dates that were postponed have been rescheduled and worked into Greta Van Fleet’s extensive North American tour kicking off in August. Tickets for all the band’s upcoming shows are available here.
Josh Kiszka’s open letter, as well as the full #SpeakUpGVF mission statement, can be seen in the Instagram posts below.