Lumbee Miss North Carolina 2013 Getting Flack for Pocahontas Photoshoot

By Toyacoyah Brown on March 21, 2014
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A lot of us usually freak out when we see someone wearing a “Pocahottie” costume and start to break out our cultural appropriation speech. So then what happens when a Native American woman decides she wants to dress in a Pocahontas inspired outfit? Recently, Johna Edmonds, Miss North Carolina 2013, came under fire after she posted pictures from a recent photo shoot in which she posed as one of her favorite Disney princesses, Pocahontas. She had plenty of supporters who thought the pictures were lovely, but also those who thought the pictures were in poor taste and hyper-sexualized. One commenter by the name of Danette said, “While I appreciate what you aspire to be, Johna, let’s please, as Native Women, uphold our image and culture in a way to honour our ancestors.”

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

So what do you think? Were these pictures in poor taste?

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

Via Miss North Carolina Facebook page

On March 18th, Johna Edmonds took to her Facebook page an offered an explanation for the photo shoot and defended herself with the following post:

I would like to redirect your attention for just a moment so that I might address, all at once, the concerns that were expressed by some of the followers of this Facebook page and a few of my own personal supporters, regarding my recently posted Disney Princess-themed photos.

For the purpose of helping an incredible artistic team who have been unbelievably generous to the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Program, capture the essence of their creative vision for this year’s Disney Princess-themed Miss NC program book ad-page, I portrayed my childhood favorite Disney Princess, “Pocahontas.” And what should have remained a proud moment for me as well as others excited to see the outcome of this photo shoot, quickly devolved.

Within a matter of minutes, I had been unfairly accused of “misappropriating Native American culture” and of perpetuating society’s “hyper-sexualization of Native American women.” Given that these assertions couldn’t be farther from the truth, I’d like to take this opportunity to dispel any and all such ideas that have clearly been confused with and conflated as “misappropriating,” when they are actually “celebrating” the beautiful marriage of an artist’s creative vision with my personal interpretation of a modern-day “Pocahontas.”

Without a doubt, beauty and art are political issues. Growing up, I was assaulted with media images that looked nothing like me, and for a long time was convinced that little girls, like myself, without blonde hair and blue eyes could be deemed “beautiful.” My seven-year-old self would have been thrilled to know that someone like me could one day be crowned Miss North Carolina and have the opportunity to even take part in such a photo shoot that would reach so many people. So the suggestion that I have in some way “misappropriated” Native American culture doesn’t hold up, especially against the bevy of well-documented experiences that I have worked tirelessly to amass since I was a little girl as a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Furthermore, for a person to “misappropriate” a culture, it is implied that they must have a history completely separate from that culture. As such, I clearly cannot be guilty of “misappropriating” a culture with which I have such strong ties. Again, there is a difference between “misappropriation” and “appreciation,” and I have always worked to ensure that my actions epitomize the latter.

Of course it’s wrong to objectify a group’s behavior or history and consume it for entertainment and capital. But it’s so important to understand and consider the context in which actions occur. For example, this photo shoot was based on the photographer’s artistic vision of “Pocahontas,” rather than a real world depiction of a Native American woman. This small but crucial distinction is a testament to the importance of always taking context into account.

So to those who feel that I have distastefully used my sexuality or femininity–which are mine to use–I do sincerely apologize. However, I’d like to also suggest that if all you see is a “hyper-sexualized” Native American woman when looking at these beautifully captured photographs, I would suggest that problem isn’t me, as I never aimed to convey “hyper-sexiness” at any point during this photo shoot. Instead, I really wanted to epitomize and portray the beauty and regal nature of the “Pocahontas” I fondly remember, and with whom I spent the entirety of my childhood captivated by.

So thank you, commenters, for opening up this very necessary dialogue. Your respective comments have only served as a reminder for me how the bodies of minority women continue to be a battleground for so many oppressive forces. And I believe that it is only by naming these forces, and recognizing their ugly reflections in our own lives, that we can begin to see all of our own true beauty.

In love and light,
Johna

So her point is that the photo shoot was not looking for authenticity, rather it was living in the fantasy world of a Disney Pocahontas. Johna Edmonds is a former Junior Miss Lumbee 2001, so she knows a thing or two about traditional regalia. However, that was not the intent of this photo shoot.

Photo via Native Pulse blog

Photo via Native Pulse blog

So after hearing her side of the story, should we still be upset with her photos? Or is this a part of a larger issue we need to address?


TOPICS: Blog, Featured, Native American Culture, Pow Wow

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49 Responses to “Lumbee Miss North Carolina 2013 Getting Flack for Pocahontas Photoshoot”

  1. keetah says:

    regardless..it’s in incredibly poor taste; she should probably receive some teachings in solidarity and humility and maybe we’ll see something more in keeping with culture. As it is..she’s made a commodity out of her heritage..disney-esque as it is. Most of us work to overcome the message this sends.

    • WILL W. says:

      THE LUMBEE IS A FABRICATED LOBBIED FOR POLITICALLY INVENTED NC TRIBE WITH NO INDIAN CULTURE OF THEIR OWN,THEY ORIGINALLY CLAIMED TO BE THE “LOST COLONY”CROATANS AN ASSIMILATED PEOPLE, THEN IT WAS AS CHEROKEE WITH PETITIONS THEY SIGNED BEFORE CONGRESS TO BE ENROLLED AS “CHEROKEE” FOR OVER 40 YEARS…. ALL ABSURD CLAIMS WHICH FAILED.
      THEY THEN COPY AND MIMIC REAL TRIBES. MODERN SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS BELEIVE THEY ARE REALLY HIDING AFRICAN AMERICAN ORIGINS WHICH STARTED DURING THE “JIM CROW ERA” SINCE THEY LACK ANY ARCHAIC AMERICAN NATIVE LANGUAGE,CULTURE,TREATYS,NAMES,RELEGION OR EVEN RELICS AND WERE NEVER LISTED IN ANY HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AS INDIANS BUT WERE LISTED AS BLACK, WHITE OR MULATTO.
      FURTHURMORE 3 SEPARATE COLONIAL SURVEYS INDIAN SURVEYS LIST “NO INDIANS IN ROBESON COUNTY(BLADEN)ALSO WELSH COLONIAL TIMBER SURVEYS LIST “NO INDIANS TO BE FOUND AT ALL”.
      EVEN RECONSTRUCTION ERA DOCUMENTS RECORDS LIST ‘NO INDIANS” IN ROBESON COUNTY OR HALIFAX ALL INDIANS FURTHUR WEST TOWARDS THE MOUNTAINS.
      EARLY 1800,S PRES.ANDREW JACKSONS,INDIAN REMOVAL TRAIL OF TEARS INDIAN REMOVAL BYPASSES ROBESON COUNTY,NC AREA BECAUSE NO EXISTING INDIANS OR TRIBES RESIDED THERE.

      Read more: http://www.powwows.com/2014/03/21/lumbee-miss-north-carolina-2013-getting-flack-for-pocahontas-photoshoot/#ixzz2yKlSjRsY

      • Ben 'Hawkeye" Lunt says:

        While I do not challenge the veracity of your claims – – (honestly, I do not know the truth, one way or the other) – – I have to admit I find it just a little bit amusing that you would use the word of white men, the most deceitful and insincere people the Native Americans have ever had the misfortune to deal with, as the the Golden Ruler with which to measure the integrity of non-white people. Surely, if there was a tribe in the area, and they chose not to expose themselves to strangers who looked funny, smelled very bad, crashed through the woods like angry bears, and from who no interaction had ever produced results happy in the eyes of the Native people, then I think they might have easily avoided the invaders, had they so chosen. Of course, I could be wrong, but since the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines successfully hid an entirely unknown people until the 1970’s, and here in America, archaeologists are still finding ancient ruins they cannot identify or yet understand, I will reserve judgement on a people who are only asking to be recognized as they should like to be. Besides, if someone was going to fight a major battle over many decades to be recognized as a particular people, and race they chose to be associated with are the Native Americans, what is the harm? Are they taking something from you that is measurable? What loss do you suffer by leaving them alone? Or is it just a way to throw stones they cannot throw back. If it is that, then I say you have accomplished one thing, and is is not as a warrior in a fair fight, it is as lone child who throws stones.

  2. Lucie DuFresne says:

    As she said, her body, her choice, her fantasy about a Disney Princess. I applaud her for taking possession and celebrating her own sense of wonder and beauty. What others see, well, belongs to them and can not be ascribed to her.

    To revisit the past, to re-interpret memes and stereotypes, to claim and re-claim cultural images is in the nature of finding one’s voice and writing one’s own stories. We each belong to ourselves before we belong to the group.

    As a Canadian Metis (Algonquin / French) woman in her 60’s, who must present herself both as an professional academic (university professor and anthropologist) and a member of a ‘mixed breed’ group only recently coming to be recognized by either Native or non-Native groups as existing, culturally distinct and legitimate, … well, I strongly sympathize with Johna Edmonds situation vis a vis both Native and non-Native as well as Feminist discourses on legitimacy.

    I salute her for her courage and celebrate her beauty.
    Hai!

  3. Mari Wakinyan says:

    Although the pics are certainly beautiful, she is nonetheless misappropriating her own culture. Personally, I believe that no Native American woman or man should sell her/his image to the fashion industry. By being a ‘model’ in the fashion biz, they are somewhat approving the very same ‘culture’ that has been stealing and looting from all of the indigenous cultures of the planet since the times of Cortez. They should not support such industry.

  4. Jessica says:

    YOU GO GIRL!

  5. David D Allman says:

    when did the ” lumbee ” become an Native American tribe ? when in fact there was NEVER any talk of any wars between them and other Na
    tives , even the U,S. soldiers !

    • Shannon says:

      So to be “Native American” you have to WAR against each other and/or the US government? Are you serious David?

    • Shannon Brayboy says:

      Since when have “Native Americans” been defined by WAR? You have watched waaaay too many westerns. That is such an ignorant statement.

    • Joseph Redmann says:

      Lumbees They are an Invented group with No Indian history at all…….The LUMBEES DO NOT REPRESENT NATIVE AMERICANS THEY ARE A SELF IDENTIFIED NON-FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED AND HAVE NO HISTORY OR DNA AS NATIVE PEOPLE,THEIR DNA RESULTS HAVE SHOWN ONLY WHITE AND AFRICAN AT THEIR OWN LUMBEE DNA SITE AND THERE ARE NO REFERENCES TO THEM IN ANY HISTORY BOOKS OTHER THAN AFTER JIM CROW WHEN THEY NO LONGER WANTED TO BE KNOWN AS MULATTOS.ALL CENSUS RECORDS OF ROBESON COUNTY IST “NO INDIANS” HOWEVER PEOPLE CAN SELF IDENTIFY AS INDIAN ON CENSUS BECAUSE NO PROOF IS REQUIRED AT ALL AND THAT IS WHAT LUMBEE HAVE DONE TO AVOID THEIR BLACK HERITAGE AS THEY ARE NOT REAL INDIANS AND HAVE NO RESERVATION HISTORY WE DO NOT CONSIDER THEM AS INDIANS IT IS THROUGH POLITICAL LOBBYING THAT THEY HAVE TRIED TO BECOME INDIANS FOR BENEFITS AND A CASINO.

      • miriam jones says:

        My mother was born and raised in Evergreen, Alabama in 1924. Since a child, she and her siblings told us about her great-grandmother named Ellen Robeson. She and her Family are from Robeson County in North Carolina. I’ve always known that she was Croatoan now called Lumber Indian. We have a photo of her. She wasn’t white nor black she was clearly Native. I am black. But I am proud to say that not only am I proud to be descended from her, but along with my great-great grandmother Ellen Robeson Cunningham who lived and died in Conecuh County, Alabama at the age of 114 (she was a mid-wife and also delivered my mom) I’m proud of the Welsh, Irish, Caribbean, and African blood that runs through my veins. I recently looked her up on the U.S. Census and they had her listed in one census as Black, and another census as Mullato. What a lie. They even had her kids, some as Black, others as mullato which some were by black men, It’s a long history but my brothers and I plan to go to North Carolina and Visit the Lumbee. Some of Ellen siblings went into the white race, some married other Croatoan, and others had children with blacks. But no one can tell me that my great-grandmother was not Native American. The census takers were white and put down what THEY saw fit. Bottom Line.

  6. Jason Deese says:

    Over 55,000 enrolled.
    “State” recognized since 1885. How can there be “talk” of us when they only found out about us 130 yrs ago?

    • wILLIAM wRIGHT says:

      STATE RECOGNITION REQUIRES NO REAL PROOF OTHER THAN POLITICS AND A FEW SELF IDENTIFIED RECORDS THAT YOU MAKE UP AT SOME POINT AND IS EASY TO GET BY LOBBYING YOUR STATE BECAUSE IT GIVES FEDERAL OR SOVEREIGNTY RIGHTS SO MANY STATE HAND IT OUT EASILY…. TO MANY FAKE GROUPS THE LUMBEE ORIGINALLY CLAIMED TO BE MULATTOS,THEN THE LOST COLONY THEN CHANGED IT TO,THE CHEROKEE OF ROBESON COUNTY THEN CHANGED IT AGAIN TO SIOUAN,THEN TUSCORORA,THEN CHERAW ALL WITH SWORN PETITIONS EACH TIME SIGNED BY THEIR PHONY MEMBERS OVER THE YEARS BECAUSE OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF CLAIMANTS THEY HAVE POLITICAL POWER BUT NO INDIAN CULTURE,HISTORY OR LANGUAGE AND NO CUSTOMS OR INDIAN RELEGION AND HAVE NEVER HAD ANY.NOT EVER
      THE NUMBERS OF THIS FAKE INVENTED TRIBE HAVE GROWN.

  7. Shannon Brayboy says:

    I guess the POLITICAL agenda of whoever is screening these posts is CLEAR! I have tried to post 2 replies to this ignorant comment by David Allman that is offensive to ALL Native people and they have been denied. I will make sure to let as many people as possible know what you are doing by posting this experience on Facebook.

  8. Tracy S. says:

    Just because the “Lumbee” have not received federal recognition as a Native American tribe, as of yet, one should not even use that excuse in this dialogue. No, I am not a Native American, nor am I an American Indian. I am, however, an educator in Robeson County, the home of the Lumbee tribe. I applaud Ms. Edmonds for having a princess from Disney that she could believe in and one day have the opportunity to emulate. Ms. Edmonds has done so much in her young life when it comes to relaying the message to young Lumbee girls that it is ok to have a dream. I was not offended in the least at the photos from the photo shoots. There is nothing wrong with the photos. Day after Day I see beautiful Lumbee girls feel that they are less than the “white, blonde haired and blue eyed” girls that they have as classmates. They are NOT less than anyone else. They are beautiful creatures made in God’s image.

  9. wilma says:

    Miss North Carolina is beautiful, anyone that says anything about this pictures is jealous and wish they could look so pretty. it is a very cut throat world for pagents.
    She’s beautiful

  10. Anonymous says:

    So, a tribe must fight a war to in fact be considered a tribe? If that is the case, then in fact the Lumbee are a tribe for everyday we wade in a war with such ignorance as you display Mr. Allman.

  11. cmae.Sanchez says:

    Your Beautiful,you are awesome…XOXOX

  12. Will Chavis says:

    David Allman. I didn’t one a war was a requirement for a tribe? The Lumbee are a Native American Tribe. It seems you are out of tune with history. You should do some reading and research before inserting your foot in your mouth.

  13. Katie says:

    David, your lack of education is not anyone else’s problem but your own. I would suggest simply googling “Lumbee” and reading the history instead of pretending an entire Native American tribe doesn’t exist because you personally were never taught about them. Typing it in google may be too difficult for you though, I guess. Aside from that, I have to definitely agree with her point that minority women can’t do a thing without everyone freaking out at them. I did multiple pageants as an everyday brunette white girl with no one except super conservative people ever having a problem with my photo shoots. I never experienced having barbie dolls in my race on sale, POC on television as always portraying some evil character, and no Disney princesses being similar to me. So many little girls grow up thinking something is wrong with them because of the negative way the media portrays POC. For goodness sakes, Miss America experienced a ton of flack last year for just existing as a dark skinned individual. She didn’t even do a photo shoot yet. Her existence itself as an Indian Miss America was considered “controversial.” She’s right. Of course we’re going to sit around fighting about whether a Native American woman is allowed to show her body in Pocahontas clothes instead of seeing this as empowering to so many little girls.

  14. Amber H says:

    First, I want to say that I “liked” the Miss North Carolina Facebook page upon learning that the current Miss NC was Lumbee.  I was very glad to support a young woman from my tribe who had earned this title.  After learning more about Johna Edmonds, I was proud to learn that she was more than a “beauty queen” that she had completed her undergraduate degree and was now in grad school. I think that is outstanding considering the statistics surrounding American Indian graduation rates and college retention rates.  I was even more impressed to see how well she was representing the state and was also making sure that she spent a good amount of time making appearances in Robeson County and that she is throwing her support behind local businesses.  From the outpouring of support from those who know her, it is evident that she must be as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out.  It is clear that she is a young woman to be proud of.

    However, the “Pocahontas-themed” photos soured my view of her and many others have felt the same way. Miss Edmonds says Disney’s Pocahontas is her favorite Disney princess.  I assume that perhaps that is because she felt she could relate to this character more so than any of the others.  Mine was always Belle, because I related to having a greater interest in reading and learning than superficial aspects of life and to not fitting in.  If given the opportunity to dress up as Belle from the scene where she dances with the Beast, I would certainly take it and be excited about it too! I imagine that is how Miss Edmonds felt; excited to have the opportunity to dress up like a favorite childhood character, and that she was eager to share her photos with others so they could enjoy them with her.  Yet, in these photos she saw a child’s dream and I saw a nightmare.

    I am three years older than Miss Edmonds and I remember when Disney’s Pocahontas came out.  I was thrilled to have a Native Disney Princess as well, at first.  The difference between Miss Edmonds and many of her supporters and I is that they grew up in Robeson County and I did not.  We were both bombarded with media images of blondes with blue eyes, but Miss Edmonds was surrounded by a plethora of Native women daily.  She would have had many Native classmates, teachers, medical professionals and store clerks in her life.  So, when her 7th grade teacher asked the class if anyone had ever met an Indian she and the one other Native student in the class, a Coharie, would not be the only ones raising their hands.  When she met a new student in 10th grade she probably did not receive the greeting of “How!” And in her 11th grade AP English class she probably did not have to listen to her teacher describe Indians as heathens and savages.  Growing up, she probably was never asked, “What are you?”Perhaps, she was never asked if she lived on a reservation, or in a Tipi, or what her Indian name was, or if she could communicate with nature.  In Robeson County, she probably never had to justify who she was, but I have received these questions, with the exception of the eight years I lived in Robeson County, my whole life as recently as last week from one of my students. To Miss Edmonds, Disney’s Pocahontas was an admirable character. To me, she was one of many unrealistic portrayals of Indians that my peers understood as the measuring stick for “Indianness.”      

    Growing up Lumbee outside of Robeson County showed me that to most of the world Native Americans and dinosaurs belong in the same category “extinct.”  That is why I decided to be a teacher.  I wanted to make sure that my Indian students (and all students) were made to feel included in the curriculum, that their cultures were not showcased once a year, and that in my room they would be given the truest form of history I could find. 

     In the world outside of Robeson County, you may be the only Native in someone’s life.  That is why I also, sought to be a good representative of my heritage. That is why I chose to attend a historically Native American College and why I minored in American Indian Studies. That is why I joined a historically Native American sorority. That is why I attended culture classes and spoke with elders and tribal leaders about our history and culture. That is why I learned to dance, to sew, to bead, to make the pinecone patchwork, to play the flute, to tell stories, and to make corn husk dolls and bait gourds.  Still, there is so much I have yet to learn.  Over the years, I have had the opportunity to share the small bits of knowledge that I have gained with young people.  I have led workshops at the NCNAYO conference, taught high school American Indian Studies courses, written curriculum for the new American Indian Studies elective for one of the state’s largest school districts, taught at an afterschool Indian Education cultural academy and sponsor high school Native American student organizations.  And when I served as Miss American Indian Mothers, Inc. and Miss Indian North Carolina, I knew that there would be eyes watching me that entire year, and I know that some eyes are still on me.

    The reason I was so glad to learn Miss NC was Lumbee, like I have been with the three past Miss NCs who have been from my tribe, is that having Native women in this very public role provides many non-Natives and Natives with local examples that dispute the stereotype.  I hope that in these women the public see contemporary Native women who are able to walk in two worlds, who are strong, independent, intelligent, well-articulated, and talented.  I do not feel that these images, while the photography is great and her makeup and hair are fabulous, portray any of those wonderful characteristics.

    So, for those who do not know why I am opposed to these pictures: It is not because I’m a “hater” or “jealous” or want to bring her down, because that could not be further from the truth. I genuinely hope that this becomes a learning opportunity for her and anyone involved. 

    She and others may never be able to understand how I could be so adamantly against this portrayal of Native women, but I will never be able to understand voluntarily clothing myself in that manner. 

    Perhaps, our seven-year-old selves lived in completely different worlds.

    • Samantha Brown says:

      Lumbees are fake ,they are not real native americans but Mulattos posing as Indians,

      They dont and never even had any indian language,treaty or customs they copy off tv and books,The Bureau of Indian Affairs that recognizes tribes has Turned them down consistantly for over 100 years for being fakes and not Authentic.They fooled north carolina by claiming to be the lost colony to get the state on their side by politics lobbying,
      They never had treatys,a language or even any indian culture and historians beleive they are just a mixed black white commumnity that is ashamed to admit black after posing as Indians so long.

  15. Joan says:

    I’ve been reading the book “The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History” by Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow and Angela L. Daniel “Silver Star” from Fulcrum Publishing (www.fulcrumbooks.com). Given that this was a hated nickname for me growing up, I’ll only say this: how this young woman chooses to present herself is up to her. Disney’s version of Native women, however, was always offensive to me, this even more so. Like so many of us, Johna has to walk between two worlds and sometimes it means conforming to the appropriated and assigned “idea” of what we should be like. As long as she personally carries herself with honor, I can recognize that difficulty and accept it accordingly. I don’t like the so-called updated “native dress” she wears in these photos, but she is a lovely young woman and did a difficult job well. I’m proud of her.

  16. Sacred says:

    She is extremely beautiful… she has done nothing she should be ashamed of…she has brought light to the Native American community… her pictures are very tasteful…

  17. Jessica says:

    I am of Potawatomi descent and never once did Disney’s movie Pocahontas make me want to pretend to be Pocahontas. More importantly, as an adult Native American woman who more than likely knows how Pocahontas’ life turned out, why would you still want to portray her? She did not have a happy life or death at all.
    I cannot however judge Miss North Carolina. She stated her reason for doing the shoot and people should respect that. People will always find something to nitpick over, instead of looking back and seeing how far people of color have come. Back in the 50’s my grandpa didn’t think the bank would give him a home loan because he was Native. Now we’re being asked to do photo shoots and our sisters are beauty queens. We’ve come a long way, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop moving forward, but for heaven’s sake, let’s not attack each other. That’s when our progress comes to a halt.

  18. CarolinaLady says:

    To me there is a issue with how the Miss NC pageant seems to have a vendetta against the Lumbee women ever since the Rebekah Revels fiasco. There have been Lumbee women since then cheated out of the crown and placing. I feel she was set up, but that’s the way I feel. Out of Johna’s own mouth she has admitted to not knowing her culture like she should, so it’s hard to expect anyone raised white to have instinctively known that this would be disrespectful.

    I think as a Native Nation all across turtle island we accept too many things from outsiders to those right within our family and tribes to do things that are detrimental to our culture. We shouldn’t be playing culture police or telling people they do or don’t belong, but we should teach and insist upon respect from our own and outsiders.

  19. Dałaa Ba'cho says:

    We have to face it. We are well integrated and Our Children watch Disney, the NFL, Victoria Secrets Fashion Shows and whatever else is on TV. You may not like it but it is important that all faces, races, and cultures are represented.

    We are not an Isolated people and for some kids growing up in this country to see a familiar face on Disney or TV or Sports world it means a lot to them.

    We need to ENCOURAGE our young people and stop tearing them down for wanting to express themselves.
    The theme of this shoot was FANTASY meaning MAKE BELIEVE so anyone crying about inaccuracies of wardrobe…. Please see the definition of FANTASY.

    I suppose here on the NET everyone has to be a critic, HEY, it7s not easy walking out in front of a camera and having your photo taken and there are so many beautiful women out there photos of a beautiful woman are a dime a dozen. The fact that her photos are seen by 1000’s is a miracle in itself.

    She is happy, she wasn’t forced to shoot these photos against her will. She chose the character… Come on give her a break!
    Our women are BEAUTIFUL by default asking a Native woman not to be beautiful and sexy is like asking a Rose to smell bad…

  20. Lonestarbright says:

    Can you say, “Hoochie Mama”?

  21. Samuel Kerns says:

    I think that this whole issue has been blown way out of proportion. To those who do not know, some of us are actually related to Pocahontas. Johna is an incredible representative of North Carolina and I for one have been amazed at how much she does to represent us all.

  22. Ben 'Hawkeye' Lunt says:

    For many years now I have bristled with shame and regret as I discover one instance after another where the People of America, the Original People, the Native people, have been told from every corner all the things they CAN NOT do. I would think they would be sick to death of hearing people tell them they can’t live here, they can’t live there, they can’t do this, they can’t do that.

    Why are their own ears deaf to the sounds in their mouths when they take their turn and tell one of their Brothers or Sisters, “You cannot do this. You must first ask us. You must please us and do things our way.”

    To all the People I would say, “See what you would like to do and do it. Do not shrink from your own loves and desires. Take your own life and your own freedom and clap them together like two strong hands. If I am impressed, I will applaud. If I am not, I will keep it to myself and secretly hope you do not stop trying.

  23. David Ward says:

    A few observations…

    1. Why do so many of the comments presume that to be authentically Native American excludes being sexy? I have been blessed to know a number of strong, capable, intelligent, self determinant women from several different tribes. They are all hot. Because confidence and intelligence are sexy, on any woman, from any culture.

    2. In the Amerika, we sexualize women from all walks of life. Sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it isn’t, depending on circumstances, but no single ethnic group is exempt. And in the interest of fairness, we sexualize and objectify men too. Look at the cover of any trashy romance novel. Why does no one ever complain about that?

    3. I find it a little bit absurd that she should be criticized for being sexy and Native American at the same time. How is this misappropriating culture? Historically, in many tribes sexual behavior was pretty loose by today’s standards. It strikes me as ironic that a beautiful Native American woman should be subjected to criticism based on such puritanical beliefs since the puritans were such a big part of the evils imposed on our ancestors. Perhaps those who criticize should reflect on their own assimilation of thought before pushing their standards down the throats of others.

    4. Why does the idea of seeing strong, sexually empowered women bother people so much? As a man, I’m allowed and even expected to be perfectly comfortable with my own sexuality. So why is it different for a woman? What’s with the double standard?

    Just my $0.02.

  24. Norman Kirkland says:

    Johna is a very beautiful woman! I’am blue eyed blonde and white as snow I think Native American woman are beautiful.

  25. Linus Nadeau says:

    So why isn’t anyone commenting at all the post cards pictures that have similar depiction, get out of the past, this is the 21st century. I think her pictures are great.

  26. Rebecca Hunt Locklear says:

    The issues here are not whether Native People are attractive or even sexy. The fact that people of any culture are attractive and sexy has absolutely nothing to do with any indigenous or traditional teachings of that culture. As American Indians we are not to be remembered or thought of on the fact that we are or are not attractive or sexy. We do not need any American Indian Museum doing exhibits on “sexiness” with regards to the American Indian Culture.

    Neither is the issue weather she is or is not Native American or that something is done historically accurate.

    Of course she is pretty and attractive – that is a given…she is also smart and nice and a wonderful person as I have met her and spoken to her on more than one occasion….but that is not the issue either.

    The issue is one of hypocrisy. Native Americans all over the country including many Lumbee were very upset and frustrated when the same kinds of wrong American American Clothing adorned Victoria Secrets models in November of 2012, and the pop music group wearing wrong American Indian Clothing in a video also in November of 2012, or Ke$sha’s wrong Native American Clothing worn in a musical performance in March of 2010. And the fact that American Indians all over the country, including Lumbee, get upset that every Halloween thousands and thousands of people dress in wrong American Indian Clothing especially poorly covered outfits by the likes of hundreds of Hooters waitresses and many other scantily clad sports bar waitresses.

    If another did this that was not Native we all know what would be said and done. That fact that she is Native does not exclude her from one poor judgment for this particular photo shoot.

    As a brother of mine said she could have done a historically accurate portrayal and even promote the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’s capture, marriage, and voyage to Eurpse as a wonderful educational resource for Americans of all ages to finally get the real and true story of this iconic Woman known as Pocahontas.

  27. william worth says:

    THE LUMBEE IS A FABRICATED LOBBIED FOR POLITICALLY INVENTED NC TRIBE WITH NO INDIAN CULTURE OF THEIR OWN,THEY ORIGINALLY CLAIMED TO BE THE “LOST COLONY”CROATANS AN ASSIMILATED PEOPLE, THEN IT WAS AS CHEROKEE WITH PETITIONS THEY SIGNED BEFORE CONGRESS TO BE ENROLLED AS “CHEROKEE” FOR OVER 40 YEARS…. ALL ABSURD CLAIMS WHICH FAILED.
    THEY THEN COPY AND MIMIC REAL TRIBES. MODERN SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS BELEIVE THEY ARE REALLY HIDING AFRICAN AMERICAN ORIGINS WHICH STARTED DURING THE “JIM CROW ERA” SINCE THEY LACK ANY ARCHAIC AMERICAN NATIVE LANGUAGE,CULTURE,TREATYS,NAMES,RELEGION OR EVEN RELICS AND WERE NEVER LISTED IN ANY HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AS INDIANS BUT WERE LISTED AS BLACK, WHITE OR MULATTO.
    FURTHURMORE 3 SEPARATE COLONIAL SURVEYS INDIAN SURVEYS LIST “NO INDIANS IN ROBESON COUNTY(BLADEN)ALSO WELSH COLONIAL TIMBER SURVEYS LIST “NO INDIANS TO BE FOUND AT ALL”.
    EVEN RECONSTRUCTION ERA DOCUMENTS RECORDS LIST ‘NO INDIANS” IN ROBESON COUNTY OR HALIFAX ALL INDIANS FURTHUR WEST TOWARDS THE MOUNTAINS.
    EARLY 1800,S PRES.ANDREW JACKSONS,INDIAN REMOVAL TRAIL OF TEARS INDIAN REMOVAL BYPASSES ROBESON COUNTY,NC AREA BECAUSE NO EXISTING INDIANS OR TRIBES RESIDED THERE.

    ,THEIR HEADQUARTERS PEMBROKE(SCUFFLETON,NC)WAS LISTED IN THE 1872 NEW YORK HERALD,SCUFFLETON NCIN AN ARTICLE DESCRIBING THEIR ORIGINS, NEW YORK HERALD FEB 1872
    ,”THE MULATTO CAPITOL” OF IMMEMORIAL FREE NEGRO’S
    ,A HOMOGENOUS FREE NEGRO SETTLEMENT IN CLEAR ORIGINS.
    THE LUMBEE ATTEMPT TO PASS AS INDIANS AND COVER UP A FREE NEGRO ORIGIN HAS BEEN UNMASKED BY PROMINENT GENEALOGIST DRS.HEINEGG AND DRS.DEMARCE WHO DID EXTENSIVE RESEARCH ON THE LUMBEE CORE ANCESTORS USING PRIMARY SOURCES AND CIVIL DOCUMENTS TRACED THE LUMBEE TO NO TRIBAL ORIGINS BUT ONLY TO FREE BLACK AND WHITE PEOPLE OF TIDEWATER VIRGINIA WHO ENTERED ROBESON COUNTY NORTH CAROLINA IN THE SAME MANNER AS ANY OTHER “INDIVIDUAL”COLONIST LIVING AS COLONIST AND NOT ANY TRIBAL SOCIETY.THE LUMBEE DNA PROJECT HAS YIELDED ALMOST NO DOMINANT OR SUBSTANTIAL NATIVE AMERICA DNA AMONG LUMBEES TESTED ONLY EURO/AFRICAN RESULTS CONFIRMING THE RESEARCH RESULTS YIELDED.
    THE ORIGINS OF ANY LUMBEE TRIBE AS INDIANS HAS EVER BEEN PROOVEN AND FEDERAL RECOGNITION HAS BEE DENIED TO THE LUMBEE WO HAVE USED VARIOUS OTHER INDIAN NAMES AND IDENTITYS TO TRY TO GET FEDERAL RECOGNITION AT A COST TO THE US TAXPAYERS OF NEARLY 1.5 BILLION DOLLARS OVER 8 YEARS AND A CASINO CONTRACT THE REAL MOTIVATION.
    THE LUMBEE ACT IN 1957 WICH THEY THEMSELVES LOBBIED FOR WAS A POLITICAL CONCESSION WHICH GAVE THEM A NAME TO USE ONLY AS “LUMBEE PEOPLE” AND DENIED “TRIBAL STATUS”AND BENEFITS TO CLARIFY THE BILLS PURPOSE AS A POLITICAL NAMING COURTESY ONLY.THE LUMBEE ACT FORBIDS B.I.A RECOGNITION AND FEDERAL BENEFITS TO THE LUMBEE GROUP.

  28. LAKOTA.... says:

    Has ANYBODY EVER Heard Of That Ugly Bucket Of WORMS? When 1,Gets to Thee TOP,Thee Other UGLIES Try Thier Best to Pull em Back Down,LMFAO!!! ;) You Keep YOUR Heqad Up WOMAN! And By ALL Means Keep Going!!!! I LOVE YOU AND What YOU Stand For ;)

  29. LAKOTA.... says:

    So WHERE Can I Get Your Pictures? ;)

  30. Ben 'Hawkeye" Lunt says:

    I am confused. At a time when the people should truly be working together to address serious problems on Reservations from coast to coast, when poverty, despair and alcoholism ravage Native people, and white men again push the people off their land and out of the life-sucking casinos, saying, “Take this money and go away. Drink and drug and stay away from paying customers.” When interest should be focused on building and going forward, instead it gathers to berate, humiliate and bully a young woman for using her own freedom to live her own life. Indeed, when there is a great fight to be fought in Washington DC over a shameful name on a football team, I hear silence instead of a rallying cry and organized movement, but God help a young girl who works to build her own future, making her own money with her own assets and willpower.

    I am ashamed to hear the unkind railings. I am ashamed because it is not my place to tell any person what they can or cannot say, and I want to listen to them, but I am ashamed because of what I hear. It is like being in the same room with a drunk who is filled with self pity and crying and complaining. It makes me want to turn my back.

  31. Amber says:

    I’ve never been a fan of native women wearing the “pocahottie” COSTUMES because, to me, it’s basically telling everyone that it’s okay for everyone else to wear this. It is hyper-sexualizing, but I don’t consider that to be the problem. I think that what she says is the truth. Her sexuality is her own to do with what she pleases. HOWEVER, using the pocahottie style costume, it’s like saying that we are just a costume. That it’s okay to generalize native women in this way. I think that instead of aspiring to be the disney pocahontas, aspire to look into your area’s background and use their traditional clothing to help educate people. We are in a constant struggle to just be seen as human beings, as people with emotions and thoughts, not a mascot to be made fun of or be seen as a lower form of existence.

  32. Norma Ridenhour says:

    As a former Miss NC contestant I will say that beautiful women will always have people finding fault with them. I saw nothing wrong with the photos. I attended Pembroke State University in the ’70s and have the greatest respect for the Lumbee Indians and their culture.

  33. Dr. Bill says:

    First of all, I would suggest that anyone who has an issue with these pictures need to look inside themselves and find out what their issue is. I think it to be somewhat racist to believe that Native American women cannot be pretty or portray themselves to be so. Secondly, many small girls (and some boys) relate to Pocahontas in many ways and also look up to this figure. She portrays the beauty of Native American women and strong women archetypes in spite of the transgressions made upon them. Thirdly, it is art. Art does not have any rules. The beauty of the art is dependent upon the artist, the viewers, and the muse. Just because you do not like the art portrayed does not make it wrong or distasteful. That is not to say that what I am saying is correct, just that it is an opinion which we are all allowed to have, but do not force it upon others. You can convey your dislikes or disapproval so long as you do not force them upon others. I commend Johna on her commitment to art, to her nationality, and to her child heroin. She is both beautiful and well spoken.

  34. wILLIAM wRIGHT says:

    SHE IS NOT NATIVE AMERICAN SHE IS PART OF THAT FAKE INVENTED LUMBEE TRIBE PEOPLE !!!
    ITS A LONG RUNNING SCAM STATRTED TO PASS AS INDIAN INSTEAD OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LONG AGO

  35. Sundance Thompson says:

    I cannot believe some of the ignorant comments I am reading. To say that Lumbee’s were fabricated and are actually of African descent and not Native at all, is completely false information. It really doesn’t matter if the Lumbee’s were documented back when the liar and theif Andrew Jackson, slaughtered and forced the removal of thousands of Native Americans for his own greed. They lied and covered up so many things that are doucumented or taught in history. The Lumbee tribe is alive and thriving. I know because I am a proud Lumbee. I think these pictures depict exactly what she said. This is modern day America. She shows no sexualization in any of the pictures. She is a beautiful, intelligent Native women who clearly has a strong cultural upbringing. Thank you Miss North Carolina for representing your tribe and women with grace and honor. There will always be critics, but God is the ultimate judge. Please do not allow ignorant people to mislead you. You are doing a great job! God bless you on your journey of life.

    • Walter Wase says:

      Or, it’s possible that your ancestor may not have been American Indian at all, but rather African-American. One of our readers wrote us recently to tell us that her “Indian princess” ancestor had turned out to be African-American, and when she did more research into it, “Indian princess” and “Cherokee princess” were sometimes used in the South as somewhat derogatory terms for light-skinned mulatto women (similar to “high yellow.”) This appellation may have been passed down in your family by people who were unaware of its original meaning.

  36. Sundance Thompson says:

    You are ignorant and full of hate. You should remove yourself from this page. Go study native history a little deeper and not from the wrtings of a white man…really go educate yourself. “History” books show the point of view from a white man’s view. Regardless, you have no reason to dispute the Lumbee culture, tribe or organization. Maybe you should move out of the country since you have such an issue with us..Natives are the only race you have to prove yourself..and for what?! Because I don’t get any type of benefits..and yes, I have the birth certificate, tribal card and DNA to prove it.

  37. Bill says:

    I think she looks fabulous….I personally would Poke-her-highness anyday….oops…I meant Pocahontas….

  38. Kevin Chavis says:

    It’s so funny how many people will jump to so many conclusions about people they find information on off the internet. No one on this Earth has any right to tell anyone what they are or aren’t because you probably haven’t lived in their shoes or even been to their homeland. Come to Pembroke NC and you will see many Native Americans.. We are predominantly Native American blood and then some that is mixed with other ethnic group and that being forced not willingly. But what other tribe doesn’t have some or very little mixed ancestry doesn’t make you any more or any less than one who presumes they are full blooded. Also Lumbee people were never warlike people we we peaceful people and since when does a tribe have to be in a war or even have treaties to be considered a Native American tribe. I would like to add that you can actually find tribal members that have fault in every major war that America has been in. Last but not least we are actually Federally Recognized in 1956 but the US Congress denied the Lumbee Tribe the benefits that would normally come along with federal recognition. So with all the rude comments that are really coming out of ignorance come to Pembroke, NC and let some of our elders educate you. Better yet look at your own people because I promise you that the problems you elders went through Lumbee elders have been in during much longer.

    • Stiles Morehuse says:

      THE LUMBEE TRIBE HAS NEVER BEEN FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED THE BIA CAN VERIFY THIS FACT.THE LUMBEE LOBBIED FOR A NAME ,A DESIGNATION FOR THEIR GROUP IN 1957 AND WERE DESIGNATED AS “lUMBEE’ A MADE U NAME..ANYONE CA BE DESIGNATED, IT WAS MADE CLEAR NO BENEFITS WERE T COM WITH A DESIGNATION SO IT WAS ADDED TO THE NAMING DESIGNATION TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE LUMBEE ACT OR 1957..WAS NOT FEDERAL RECOGNITION
      ITS INTENTION WAS “NOT ” TO RECOGNIZED THE LUMBEE AS A TRIBE..CONGRESS CLEARLY KNEW HOW TO RECOGNIZE A TRIBE AND THEY DIDNT.FEDERAL RECOGNITION STATES THAT A TRIBE IS ACKNOWLEDGED AND RECOGNIZED BY THE BIA OR CONGRESS AND NO WHERE IN THE LUMBEE ACT DOES IT MAKE THEM A TRIBE OR FEDERALLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE LUMBEE GROUP,IT MERELY STATES THEY CLAIM TO BE A GROUP DESIRING A NAME AND THE LUMBEE DELGATION STATED THEY WANTED NO BENEFITS AT THAT TIME ONLY A NAME..SO TO KEEP THE LUMBEE FROM TRYING TO TWIST THE DESIGNATION BILL INTO RECOGNITION THE CLEAR NO BENEFITS AS INDIANS WAS ADDED TO CLARIFY ALL THIS,THE BIA HAS NEVER HAD A RECOGNIZED RIBE CALLED LUMBEE AND THE LUMBEE HAVE NEVER APEARED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER OF TRIBES AS FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED..THIS IS ANOTHER MYTH AND LIE.THE LUMBEE IS AN INVENTED TRIBE OF ‘INDIVIDUALS” FORMERLY IDENTIFIED AS BACK AND MULATO NVER AS AN INDIAN TRIBE UNTIL POLITICIANS FOR VOTES LOBIED SO,HEY ARE INVENTED AROUND 1900 AS SOME CROATAN R LOST CHEROKEE TRIBE BY IDIVIDUALS SEEKING MONEY,STATE RECOGNITION REQIURES NO INDIAN HISTORY OR PROOF ONLY PLITICAL FRIENDS.

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