French luxury label Dior is under fire for a new perfume campaign featuring Rosebud Sioux Tribe member Canku Thomas One Star, who performs what’s called the Fancy War Dance in traditional costume. The video was made in association with a new campaign for the label’s Sauvage fragrance.
On social media Dior described the visual as, “An authentic journey deep into the Native American soul in a sacred, founding and secular territory. A film developed as a close collaboration between the House of Dior and Native American consultants from the 50-year old Indigenous advocacy organization.”
In a video showing the making of the campaign, the label added, “Discover the stories behind the creation: a love letter to the spirit of a land that should be protected, cultures that should be celebrated and to peoples that should be honoured.”
While the visual is gorgeous, the fact that the perfume is called Sauvage, a slight variation on what’s known to be a Native American slur has caused intense push back on the campaign. Sauvage is not new to Dior. It was first launched in 1996 and was the label’s first perfume for men.
The choice to feature Johnny Depp as the celebrity face of a Native American-themed campaign is also viewed as problematic. (He’s been the face of the scent since 2015.) Depp previously was criticized for playing the role of Tonto, a Comanche character, in the 2013 film The Lone Ranger.
At the same time, Depp has claimed Native blood and was adopted into the Comanche nation following a ceremony in New Mexico 2012.
As of now, neither Dior nor Canku Thomas One Star has released any statement addressing the Sauvage campaign.