Fake “Powwow” At Burning Man Has Indian Country Raising It’s Eyebrows

Fake “Powwow” At Burning Man Has Indian Country Raising It’s Eyebrows

Posted By Jazmyn Espinoza-Church September 6th, 2017 Blog

People across Indian country found themselves raising their eyebrows and scratching their heads as a viral Facebook video began making its way through pow wow circles everywhere.

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably heard that there was a “powwow” held at the Burning Man festival hosted by none other than Standing Rock’s own attorney Chase Iron Eyes and his drum group.

In the video, Chase begins to explain his intentions with a comment that didn’t sit well with some Natives.

“We are all Indigenous, we need to transcend, and one way to do that is through the drum.”

The video later cuts to a frame showing a large group of people gathered around a drum, many taking it upon themselves to join in on banging the drum and swaying with the beat.

As a joke, a satire version of the viral video even goes as far as to remove the original (still very cringe-worthy audio) of the group signing and replace it with the audio from a fake powwow held by non-natives singing “We’re going to a powwow. Gonna’ have a good good time.”

People of the Indigenous community had a lot to say about it all. Many feeling that Chase was supporting the appropriation of our culture, which is already a huge issue.

Chase clapped back in a facebook post, debunking the myth that the satire video version was the original, and setting things straight about why he was there.

“Couple few things about Burning Man:

  1. I was not paid to go to Burning Man
  2. No one sold ceremony.
  3. I don't do drugs or alcohol.
  4. We didn't sing “going to a powwow.” That was a clever edit. Indigenous people came to share in good faith.
  5. I, along with others, went there to share the message of Water Protectors, to elevate this struggle, their current criminalization, into other platforms, and to share our truths.

Some facts and now some thoughts I hope you share with your network about my statements that “all are Indigenous.”

Everyone is Indigenous. All descend from the sacred waters, the land, the cosmos. Everyone has been subjected to the same forces of separation, abstraction, division. Spirit separated from mind, heart from intellect, being separated from relationships with food source, from relations with the waters, the star nations, from covenants with the sacred sites. All anyone has to do is go back far enough and there is a time when you were connected to the sacred.

Colonial forces asserted “dominion” over Mother Earth, over the older beings, the animals, the winged, and so forth. These forces declared themselves “superior”, instituted currency, the logic & institutions of capital, private property, the nation state, extraction. They are the purveyors of patriarchy, pop culture, of cool, of fashion, of beauty, of advertising and so forth. They are now the sources of this separation, fear, hate & division, from which we seek a liberation.

To liberate the spirit, to transcend the limits of body, language & perceived differences of race, religion is to take part in a great awakening, one which is evolving, which will compel us to civilize ourselves with divine order, to unite ourselves with the universe. Then our institutions of law, economy, energy, media, education and so for can reflect humanity's pursuit of liberation and that of Mother Earth's, more importantly because we will be morally and spiritually authorized to create that reality. We won't let vampires destroy our planet.

Cultural appropriation is wrong, yes. Original Nations have survived genocide, slavery, holocaust, and an ongoing genocide, an ongoing deliberate attempt to undermine our dignity, liberation & self determination. For foreigners to prance around in a headdress is wrong. I have lived my life confronting objectification when I first learned of it at 19 years old from the Association of American Indian Psychology. I will continue to confront it and I thank those who fight that fight. Natives confronted people at Burning Man in teachable moments.

Antonie Edwards Jr was also invited to be a part of Burning Man.  He expressed his feelings on Facebook also.


About Jazmyn Espinoza-Church

Jazmyn Espinoza-Church is a bestselling Native American Author, advocate for Native youth, and freelance journalist. When she's not writing or mentoring she can be found in her Michigan home, hanging out with her fiance and two sons.

TAGGED:    Culture    Events    Indian Country    Indigenous    mostpopular    Native    Native American    powwow    South Dakota    standingrock  


6 thoughts on “Fake “Powwow” At Burning Man Has Indian Country Raising It’s Eyebrows

  1. Alejandro says:

    I grew up on a Chiricahua Apaches reservation you shame the Historic Values of Our Pow Wows are you a red apple? It sure seems as such you need to get back on your painted pony to become Native again.

  2. Shut The F Up.!!! You Are Not Even Making Sense..You Know You Did Wrong Of Even Going There In The First Place!!! You Shame The Natives With Letting Them Even Make Fun Of The Sacred Drums And Sacred Songs..You Have Lost Your Way.!!!! You Joined The Circus.!!! We,,Natives Are The True Indeginous People And For You To Go Out There And Tell Them The Same Thing.!!Your Are A Disgrace.!!! Keep Trying To Explain Your Self..True Natives Do Not Act Like That.!!! You Lost An Dignity You Ever Had.!!

  3. Wonder how much money they made from these “transcend” pow wows.. Don’t say it’s not about money when your doing a ceremony around one of the biggest drug filled events and trying to justify doing so. Greed is written all over this. Native Americans don’t need leaders like that. If you wanted to further the ceremonial values of natives, maybe just invite people to a real pow wow. Don’t think yourself as untitled to being able to run a pow wow in the first place. But then again your names all over social media, people probably will continue to come. You name is known and how you falsely call yourself a medicine men while your at it.

  4. Gilles Bear Heart says:

    You sound like a babbling fool , I couldn’t stand to listen to you dry snitching on the other brothas. You’re nothing but a weak ass sell out with no heart and no courage. Everybody can tell that you’re trying to weasel your way out of the situation.

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