Cultural appropriation and open racism in the cycling industry

Indigenous peoples have next to no voice in the cycling industry at all. It seems that the cycling industry follows Major League Sports teams like the Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Chiefs and the dreaded TOMAHAWK CHOP. The cycling industry uses names like APACHE, RESERVATION, SCALP, PEYOTE, “DIRTY Kanza” and many many others with no regard at all to a indigenous culture.

There have been many pieces done on these issues but unlike BLM it seems many people either ignore it or do not care.

I reached out to L39ION on the subject and never received a response.

Here are a few articles.

Why DK changed their name.

Yes, Cultural Appropriation Is an Issue in the Bike Industry


The Myth of the Great Bike Savior


Sad that this attitude is so rampant and endorsed in this industry.

Unfortunately we do not have any big name cyclists or teams to speak on our behalf to bring awareness to this issue. We will just sit by why people use board names like Chief and whatever else they want.

The Indian List: Sht They Call Us and Sht We Call Ourselves.

Yes I am indigenous!
I either take a stand or I am part of the problem.
I wont be part of the problem.


Thanks for the links…I’ll make it a point to read each of them.


Thank you. Thats one :wink:

Thanks for the links, I hadn’t seen all of these articles and some of the examples they raise are pretty heinous - yikes. I’m also Indigenous, and interested in having these discussions although somewhat hesitant towards jumping into it in a forum where people may not be well educated about these topics.

I somewhat reject your premise that recognition of Indigenous issues is overshadowed by BLM - perhaps my perspective is coloured by being in Canada where Indigenous issues are a larger part of the political discourse and BLM less so, but I think it’s also worth acknowledging that mainstream recognition for BLM and other black issues has been gained through tireless activism by those communities - it isn’t something that people somehow inherently care about to the detriment of other issues.

I’ll also note that I can think of at least two big name cyclists who are Indigenous - Nairo Qunitana and Neilson Powless. That said, I haven’t heard of either of them being particularly outspoken about Indigenous issues.



I thank you for your input. I am also Canadian. It is true we have higher visibility with issues up here. However that visability leads to lip service and inaction or straight out lies. My points about reserves not having clean drinking water, the pipeline issues in Alberta and the government of Canada using land mines against indigenous while pushing a world wide ban on land mines (yes this was a long time ago for land mine issues). We also have the government of Alberta passing infrastructure protest laws that have ONLY ever been used against indigenous.

As for blm vs indigenous issues I was mainly referring to the USA where the indigenous population is basically ignored and often not even included in a lot of statistical surveys and are just classified as a minority. When discussing racial issues on the news I mostly hear Black, Brown and Asian. Never Red or Indigenous. Heck to this day in entertainment you have non indigenous actors playing indigenous roles. Thankfully you do not see non-black actors playing black roles anymore (i hope).

As for posting on a forum where people may not be educated on the matter… well im more than willing to be banned for raising the topic. Also people cannot be educated without exposure. I am just offering a perspective. It is how i see things. It does not mean I am correct.

I was shocked to see some of the indigenous terms used in the cycling industry. Disgusted really.

I appreciate you speaking out and bringing attention to the matter. I’ve always had a respect for the indigenous culture in this country. It’s sad to see how you guys don’t get a spotlight like other movements. All the culture, traditions and everything in between has always had my interest. Unfortunately there’s many that don’t understand the history of what has happened to y’all . Thanks again for bringing this to the table whether others don’t know much they should take some time to learn about it . :facepunch:

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Blockquote As for blm vs indigenous issues I was mainly referring to the USA where the indigenous population is basically ignored and often not even included in a lot of statistical surveys and are just classified as a minority.

Point taken, I just don’t like the implication that BLM or the mainstream recognition of civil rights and other black issues is somehow to blame for the relative marginalization of Indigenous issues in US political discourse. Not that I think that’s necessarily what you were trying to imply, but I do see our people using that rhetoric sometimes which I don’t think is constructive - like crabs in a bucket mentality.

And I fully support your efforts to educate others. It’s brave and absolutely commendable. Just saying that for myself personally, I’m not always so motivated to jump in and contribute as I need to do what’s best for my own sanity. I’ve dealt with enough ignorance in my lifetime that I’m more likely to actively avoid it than try to engage and educate. That said, the TR forum is generally pretty positive and open minded in my experience so hopefully the discussion here will be reflective of that.


Did not mean to imply that BLM has caused anything. It was a comparison on how society ignores certain issues especially in the US. BLM has been more co-ordinated, better funded and more active because of the well publicized crimes that have been committed! I credit BLM with highlighting issues for all minorities!!! This discussion would have never happened without BLM!

Compare that to the thousands of murdered and missing indigenous women that have gone missing over the years in North America that get next to no airtime at all.

Is it that indigenous and society are just used to a few hundred years of genocide and that is why we get no justice in the bike industry or elsewhere?

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From your clarification it sounds like we are on the same page - sorry if I came off as argumentative! I agree there’s still lots to be done to raise awareness in both Canada and the US, in all areas of society including in the bike industry.

I just remembered a great article I read from The Radavist that you might enjoy. I think it’s great to see popular cycling publications beginning to acknowledge and address these issues.

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Unfortunately, these types of discussions are very sensitive and because of the current society we live in, where you say one wrong thing and get a label, people don’t even want to engage in the conversation for fear of saying the wrong thing. I can barely even type about weight loss here without someone getting offended.

This is unfortunate because it is a conversation that needs to be had. I assume that is why you haven’t gotten much traction with this.

I don’t mind speaking my mind, as I know my feelings about fellow humans.

Regarding cultural appropriation, for the most part, I don’t agree that it is a bad thing. All cultures are appropriated. Where does it end? Is electricity white? Cars? Airplanes? Are guns chinese (since gunpowder was invented there)?

Personally, the vast majority of Native American words I see are appreciative of the skills, toughness, honor, etc of Native Americans. Apache helicopters, Kiowa, comanche, etc, all give the impression of, for lack of a better word, badassery.

What happened to Native Americans in this country is a horrible thing. My opinion, worse than the holocaust, worse than slavery. We rounded people from their homes and drove them like cattle. Killed off entire villages. Moved them into some of the worst land, all for the sake of “progress”.

That said, I don’t think it is a white vs native thing. No, it is a product of what humans can do for the sake of what they consider progress. Cause guess what? The government will STILL move you off your land today. Stop paying property taxes, try to live off the land on land you own. The government will forcibly move you. And if you fight back, you will be killed. So much for land ownership, huh?

I love my fellow humans, but get us together and we do seriously messed up stuff to each other. Even natives had slaves from other tribes. And they worked together with the europeans sometimes to take out enemy tribes.

But what to do now for Native Americans? I wish I knew. I think almost everything needs a big change about how we live as human beings.

Last words, I want you to know, that everyone I know thinks native americans are badass… and thats a fact.


I’ll go one step further and say that this world has us fighting over things that don’t matter on the large scale meanwhile we ignore the total control we live under by those with power and their status quo.

Been that way forever. Meanwhile brothers kill each other so the rich can profit.

In every skin color. Its pretty shitty.


Thanks for your response! I appreciate your input. I agree with you on most aspects.

However when you look at names link Uncle bens rice changing its name to Bens Original and Aunt Jemima brand being retired I cant help but wonder why there is still a “reservation” saddle, Bike models with names like “SCALP”, INDIAN Motorcycles and so on. I wonder why there is such a double standard. I do not see models of bikes advertised with dead white, black, brown or asian leaders??? Yet this practice is common in capitalism with Indigenous. I do not see bike brands with models called “The Whitey”, “The Cracker”, “The Trailer Trash” “Master bikes”, (brings up thoughts of master class racers (hmmm.)). I also do not see bikes or parts named after other ethnicities using names or racial slurs.

Also if you dont pay property taxes you take your chances. Throughout the world there are thousands of treaties legally signed that have been completely ignored.

Some justice for one family.

You think North America will turn over all its land back to the indigenous. lol.

You nailed it!

I agree some of my argument does not matter in some ways. However the treatment of indigenous people in the cycling industry is a microcosm of treatment of indigenous people throughout the world.

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I didn’t mean to imply your thoughts don’t matter, but I think you got my meaning.

They have us fighting over scraps while they rob us all blind.

They stole your land… do I own it? Not really.

I wish I knew a solution. I really don’t. Maybe just smoke weed and try to forget how messed up everything is. But then you’re part of the problem right?

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I did not take your response that way at all. Apologies if it came across that way. I appreciate what you said.

A big issue is whose problem is it for a situation that is in some cases a few hundred years old!

The problem is though that to this day it is still happening. You would never see a uranium mine opened in Phoenix Arizona or Las Vegas. It seems the only place they can find uranium is on indigenous land. (joke).

As for this pipeline go around the reserve… Another interesting point is that British Columbia Canada is unceded land that has not been turned over to Canada or the province. A minor point as Canada does not honour its treaties anyways!

Yeah. All for the sake of “progress (read, profits for certain entities and the politicians sponsored by them)”.

In California, many dams were built and this destroyed ecosystems. Salmon spawning, tribes that depended on this, not to mention villages and towns and homesteads they had to clear out to flood.

This might only be loosely related, but it has the potential to be good news.


Legalized bribery for elected officials placed in power to serve us

It is really hard to believe how wealthy some of these elected official become while “SERVING” the people.


During the GCN+ coverage today, as Mikel Bjerg was riding Yates and others off the lead group, Carlton Kirby said Bjerg was out there “collecting scalps”.

I can give him some degree of slack since he is British and may not fully recognize the origin of the phrase or it’s impact, but that is the exact kind of casual racism that @FatBoySlim is referring to.


How do you get the bike companies to address the problems you have brought up?