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Francis Ford Coppola Assailed for ‘Cultural Appropriation’ at Native American Restaurant

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 11:54 am, November 5, 2016

“Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola’s new California restaurant doesn’t open until Saturday, but it’s already facing charges of cultural appropriation over its Native American décor and menu.

Though the restaurant is based in Coppola’s winery in Geyserville, Ca., he named it “Werowocomoco,” after a Virginia village where Algonquin chief Powhatan lived that is widely considered a Native American power center.

Francis Ford Coppola accompanied by Margaret Mazzantini cooks pasta. Photo Getty Images
Francis Ford Coppola accompanied by Margaret Mazzantini cooks pasta. Photo Getty Images

Before naming his restaurant, Coppola got permission from the Pamunkey Tribal Council. The website notes that the name was chosen to “honor the cultural heritage of the Pamunkey people and their vibrant history.”

Coppola consulted advisers from several Native American tribes as he developed the restaurant. Those same advisers, the director wrote in a preemptively defensive op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, will “choose charitable organizations, offer preferential employment opportunities and give foodstuffs acquisition preference to local tribes,” with a portion of the pretax profits also going to the community.

Even so, social justice warriors have taken umbrage with Coppola and Werowocomoco.

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.

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