Don't Stand With The People Counterfeiting Standing Rock Merchandise

Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images.
Be careful where you buy your Standing Rock T-shirts, as they may, in fact, be counterfeit. According to BuzzFeed, Facebook scammers are cashing in on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests by selling merchandise with stolen "No DAPL" designs.

The website found that there are 60 Native American Facebook pages that are asking people to take a stand, but are really just trying to drive traffic to "dubious clickbait websites" that are based in countries such as Vietnam and Kosovo.

They are doing this by "selling counterfeit Native American merchandise, or by driving traffic to ad-filled websites that in some cases have little or nothing to do with Native American issues." Often, these sites falsely claim they are giving proceeds to Standing Rock, when, in fact, the money is going in their pockets at the expense of Native American designers.

Erica Moore, a Native American designer who created different T-shirts to benefit Standing Rock, told BuzzFeed that she has seen copies of her work going up on some of these websites without her permission. “I’ve seen my designs being sold without my consent, and I’ve seen people trying to re-design my design in some way to make it their own,” she said. “It just isn’t right.”

One particular Facebook page, Indigenous People of America, has reportedly been selling a knockoff version of a shirt created by actor Shailene Woodley to raise funds for Standing Rock. BuzzFeed found no evidence that the site was donating any money from the sales. If you are interested in this shirt, head to Omaze, which is the only official seller offering this design.

Other Facebook pages are offering official Native American merchandise from a website called NativeThing.com, but buyers have complained that the boots and and other items they have bought are from China.

Native designers explained that these fake companies are using sponsored posts to get into people's feeds. A Facebook page called Native American Cultures has been posting sponsored messages featuring photos of celebrities wearing Woodley's shirt and another featuring Johnny Depp wearing a shirt that has a Native American design photoshopped onto it. These posts aren't designed to give back, but to increase Likes.

It's something that upsets Native American designers who don't want to see their culture mistreated once again. "It weighs heavy,” Jared Yazzie, a Navajo who runs the Arizona-based Native American clothing company Oxdx, told BuzzFeed. “I hope people understand there is a livelihood behind [the designs]. The meaning that goes along culturally with the work is something we study and try to put out correctly.”

To make sure you don't get scammed, check out this list of websites to avoid when looking to stand with Standing Rock.
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