It was a couple of days after a spot on a TV news show had spawned lots of orders and we were working day and night to get them out the door when an email came in giving us a heads up that an online conversation was happening about whether or not our use of the name “Medicine Man” was appropriation of Indigenous culture. Ummmm… what? We freaked out a bit and then went straight to Wikipedia which revealed that the term Medicine Man is specific to Indigenous cultures of North America and not just a term for a natural healer like we had always assumed. What’s more is that there’s actually a great deal of sacred ceremony around Medicine Men. They’re revered figures that are central to Indigenous cultures of North America to this day.
It was tough to face, but the fact is that we had been appropriating part of a culture that we’ve always had great deal of reverence for, and from members of our own community who have had so much of their culture systematically taken from them already, and for that we feel deeply sorry. It came as a big shock to us and we immediately made the commitment to change the name. As one community member so generously put it, “when we know better we do better”.
Somehow it seemed easier to name all our other bar soaps in the beginning than it was to re-name just this one, but after many lists of ideas, one emerged. We love the name “Face Mate” and we hope you do too. This soap is very good for naturally maintaining healthy skin and many people use it religiously in their daily facial routines. It’s also made with Australian Teatree oil and we thought that “Mate” was a cool nod to that.
Thank you for your interest in this story and in Ground Soap and we hope that you see this change as positive. As a company we strive to be truthful, honest and responsible but we also want to be that way as humans sharing this earth with you.
Angela and Glenn