Native Model Named Playmate of the Year – Celebrate or Hate?

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown April 21st, 2017 Last Updated on: July 17th, 2018

Playboy magazine recently named Brook Power their Playmate of the Year for 2017. According to press releases, she is the magazine's first Native American to win the title.

Here's what she had to say about her heritage and background:

When not modeling, Brook loves putting her talents into artistic creations. She’s often run into various roadblocks, but uses her Native American heritage (she’s part Chippewa) to motivate her. “Sacagawea, my role model, broke through the strict gender restrictions of North American culture,” says Brook. “Before her, Native American women weren’t viewed as equals. As a female artist, it’s more difficult for me to achieve credibility, but I’m not bitter. I’ll take the added challenge, because gender equality has never been forced Women don’t need the booster seat of affirmative action to be as successful as men. We can kick ass just fine on our own without a social movement taking credit for our successes.”

The 27-year-old model from Oahu, Hawaii has modeled for the magazine before, posing as Miss May 2016 during their nudity-free days. But the magazine has started posting nude pictures again as of February of this year.

So what do you guys think? I know the hypersexualization of women, in general, is a touchy topic, but it's even more so in the Native and First Nations communities. Do you think it's a significant milestone that this is the first Native women to win the title of Playmate of the Year? Are we celebrating the fact that mainstream media and the modeling world is becoming more diverse? Or does the fact that Playboy still holds a stigma in society sway our opinion that this isn't a great thing?

? never knew if i should play a cowboy or an Indian [email protected]

A post shared by Brook Power (@brookpower) on

? Shipwrecks, the rusty bones of the Maria de Carmen, 8 hours deep Baja Mex. ??? ? @luke_macmaster

A post shared by Brook Power (@brookpower) on

Regardless of your thoughts on nudity, I have to say she is a stunning woman and looks great for just having given birth only 5 months ago!


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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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R. Merryman

This article says photo model Brook Power, came to pose in then non-nude 2016 playboy. In the piece the magazine wrote on here it is here said she named Sacagawea as a admired by her. That would be for her intricale part she was allowed to play as a woman helping Lewis & Clark’s expedition map. I’m thinking some are getting her confused with the suffering of another historical figure that Sacagawea was not i.e. Pocahontas. Neither, Native women be they abused or not, not their faults. As to Native models, she was not the first woman of Native native heritage to appear as Playboy playmate of the year! Hated or loved title this article asks, at any rate… Karen McDougal, was of Cherokee descent appearing in Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for December 1997 and Playmate of the Year in 1998. Also, Tonya Crews, of Choctaw heritage appeared as March 1961 Playboy Playmate. As with a little googling turns up these two previous models of Native heritage, might it likely be less controversial to not mention these others before the magazine was non-nude! No desire (or) need to hate; might not intimacy be best left to that, not public dispalys.

Mina Shike


David Blackburn

I can be so brainless sometimes! I misread the end of the article and thought they were saying she was born five months ago. That would have been noteworthy!

Guadalupe molina

It sounds to me that she is proud of her ethnic background. And it’s true. Our schools do not teach us enough regarding the Native American. But we are gathering information on the net, like acorns, as knowledge is planted and shared by those that know. She is a beautiful women and if she has chosen this path, who are we to judge. We all have made our own choices.


She does not know Native American History. Women throughout the Americas had leadership and equal roles in many Tribes. I realize this is a young woman and it is a fluff piece of news, but she should not speak for Native women or Chippewa women if she does not have the knowledge. And she is from Hawaii, how much does she know about the culture on the Mainland. Not necessarily her fault for not knowing, because Native American culture and history is not taught effectively or very accurately in schools.

Syndi Williamson-Schryer

I’m working with the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women MMIW, and seeing the exploitation of our women and girls, I myself have a difficult time in understanding why this is being considered a milestone. Our womyn are being exploited at alarmingly rates and we are constantly pursuing avenues to help them not to disappear. It’s obvious that she is doing this on her accord, but what about those young women out there that are already another statistical number? How many more of our vulnerable youth and young womyn are going to want to explore this Avenue as a source of revenue and be sucked even further into the underbelly of the sex trade by cruel and harsh ” people” that are looking for the next big “star”? Unsuspecting and hopeful of a better life, they will end up murdered and missing too
You can mark my words!.


Amen Sister

Wagon Burner

She’s a fake. If Sacagawea is her role model, that says enough!! Sacagawea, was a traitor and whore. As for any Native woman earning the title of Playmate of the Year, It Ain’t a Bad Thing. The human body is something to be adored and appreciated. So in that aspect good for her, native or not.

Nick Wolfwood

There are beautiful people from all races and nationalities. It’s pitiful that it takes some people so long to figure out what should be self evident. Congratulations to this young lady. I hope she approaches all of life’s obstacles with determination and fearlessness.

john coats

it is about time for a beautiful native lady to win something that helped her and the name of the native people are seen to be as good as others in this country


Weigh it very carefully before you do it. Do research on others that have done it, many have said they wish they had not as they got older. It will follow you for the rest of your life.. You are an intelligent, beautiful young woman. Think about what you plan to do with your life and if this will hold you back or push you forward, depending on the field you plan to go into.
As a Native American woman, I never felt inferior, I am also educated, I always felt proud and you could see it in my walk when I was a young woman.

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