COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After a three-month battle, the Colorado Springs Indigenous Community got a local restaurant and bar to take down its Tipi, citing cultural appropriation.

On Saturday, originally, a protest had been scheduled, but the community decided to meet anyway.

“We will always take stances against appropriation and exploitation,” said Monycka Snowbird, Program Director at the Haseya Advocate Program.

So, the protest turned into a victory celebration.

“A lot of community members decided that they didn’t want to cancel today completely because we shouldn’t only be coming together for protests, we shouldn’t only be coming together to fight against something, but also to celebrate our wins,” said Snowbird.

In May, the community took action against Shuga’s, a local restaurant and bar, that had a Tipi set up outside.

“It’s not just a tent, it’s not just a shelter, every pole, the direction it faces, the covering around it… all of it represents philosophies and virtues of plains Indian people and so to serve alcohol in it is just ridiculous,” Snowbird said.

The bar took it down last week.

In a statement to FOX21, Kevin and Kyle Dexter wrote:

As a 100% queer-owned small business restaurant, Shuga’s is and always has been committed to diversity and inclusion.

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on small business restaurants, generating a need for serious ingenuity, especially with regards to outdoor dining spaces. After a variety of contributors performed research into greenhouses, yurts, tents, geodesic domes, igloos, even big-top circus tents, Shuga’s made an intentional decision to include a tipi to accommodate outdoor seating needs for a community yearning to enjoy a meal away from home.

For the past two years, the response to the tipi has been overwhelmingly positive. It has only come to our attention recently that several members of the community are uncomfortable by its presence. Because Shuga’s is a cultural touchstone, in both its staff and patrons, we have decided to remove the tipi. It was never our intention to hurt anyone, only welcome all walks of life into our restaurant safely. 

At its core, Shuga’s celebrates and respects all human beings and we will continue to honor that mantra as long as we have the pleasure of serving residents and visitors to Colorado Springs.

The Colorado Springs Indigenous Community said they can use this as an example of preventing more cultural appropriation in their community.

“Taking something from another culture and using it for your own benefit, your own profit, and after somebody from that culture tells you they feel a certain way about it, you should take the time to listen,” said Rhiannon Moon, ‘Take it Down’ Celebration organizer.