On a crisp autumn day in Southern California, Quannah Chasinghorse sits relaxed on a folded chair that’s tucked into the corner of an old, two-story wooden barn. A square window behind the 20-year-old model frames the lush landscape, which is dotted by rolling hills and green treetops.
“This place is amazing,” Chasinghorse tells POPSUGAR, admiring the view. Known as the White Buffalo Land Trust in Santa Barbara County, this picturesque setting is where people can learn how to practice and promote the use of regenerative agriculture. This conservation-led approach to farming systems increases biodiversity and mitigates the effects of climate change. In short: Regenerative agriculture puts the planet first – it works to give back what it takes from Mother Nature.
“If you want to capture me in my element and want me to feel like myself, bring me out to the land somewhere,” Chasinghorse says. “Somewhere away from the city, somewhere quiet, somewhere where I can just be surrounded by the wilderness.”
The land trust is the perfect backdrop for Chasinghorse’s fashion campaign with UGG. The beloved early aughts footwear favorite released its first style produced in part using regeneratively-sourced materials: the
It’s so important to highlight the actual Indigenous makers. Because I think an issue that we come across a lot […] is cultural appropriation […] with Halloween costumes and headdresses at Coachella.
Through being the face of UGG’s new campaign, Chasinghorse inadvertently discovered a new piece of personal history. Chasinghorse’s Indigenous ancestry is Hän Gwich’in (from Alaska and Canada) and Oglala Lakota (from South Dakota). As it turns out, the roots of White Buffalo Land Trust date back to the year 2001, when two White Buffalo were born into a herd in Colorado. The buffalo calves were sisters and intended for sale to a casino until a group of Oglala Lakota relatives intervened.
“It’s incredible that this place was founded because my tribe, back in the day, rescued some white buffalo and had asked these people to use this land to save these white buffalo, to raise them, and to just let them roam free,” she says. “It was so cool for me to figure it out through a brand. It connected and aligned with me, not just as a model and an activist, but as a person.” She discusses her culture more in the documentary, “Our America: Reclaiming Turtle Island.”
She’s also excited about the opportunity to center indigenous fashion brands she loves. “It’s so important to highlight the actual Indigenous makers,” she says. “Because I think an issue that we come across a lot – really across the board if you’re BIPOC – is cultural appropriation. And with Indigenous communities, it’s especially rampant with Halloween costumes and headdresses at Coachella.”
Ahead, Chasinghorse goes into greater detail about her longtime affinity for UGG, plus some of the Indigenous-owned brands she’s regularly shopping from right now.