“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.
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.
— Dr. Adrienne Keene (@NativeApprops) October 25, 2016
@weroeats the rights to the name werowocomoco does not belong to a single tribe. This cultural appropriation.
— Connor Tupponce (@CTupponce) October 26, 2016
— mycelium (@cascadianspore) October 26, 2016
— Forget Winnetou (@ForgetWinnetou) November 3, 2016
This is outrageous and disgraceful. https://t.co/AclcLZ4zIs
— Marissa A. Ross (@MarissaARoss) October 27, 2016
Seriously? As if anyone needed another reason to dislike the Coppola brand https://t.co/7Gtky4xi5k
— Julie Arnan (@JulieArnan) October 27, 2016
@jfkeeler I'd prefer a menu cover that features modern Natives instead of the usual historical NDNs. For starters…
— (((Jamie Oberdick))) (@JamieOber8590) October 26, 2016
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.