fbpx

Thinking Twice About Native American Imagery

Posted By Paul G October 22nd, 2013 Last Updated on: October 22nd, 2013

The responses to our story last week “I am Not a Costume“, we received dozens of comments on both sides of the issue.

Many of the people in favor of Native American costumes claimed this practice was a way to honor the culture.

If you share that opinion, or know someone that does, please take a few minutes to watch the video below.  Afterwords post a comment about your response to her statements.


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Thinking Twice About Native American Imagery


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
24 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
jim

This is all just another outward manifestation of being “lost” and trying to find one’s way back. The real issues for Native Americans are: opportunity and equality. I don’t let opinions by Indians bother me in the least. They’ll come around, it may take a few more generations, hopefully not in the “dependent” existence they have allowed themselves to fall for, because until they lose their dependence on Federal money, they will forever remain “dependently sovereign”.

Scary Blackfeather

I have some personal strong feelingz about alot of what this lady is speaking about. However, I do not agree w/ much of what she says. What I am taking from her speech is she is offended by the new world portrayal of NATIVE AMERICANS (she repeatedly calls us “indians” which alot of us consider a no-no) but that we as a race should be held to that specific image of us to define our future. I am as proud as the nxt brother or sister of My heritage. Itz the one thing no one anywhere or anytime can take from Me just as everyones else’s sovereignty does. But I think some of us in the nation have some strange notions, as does society @ large, of how to integrate & honor one of the few remaining indigenous ppls of North America. I do believe that the nature of many iconic representation on most levels of american pop & sports society have gone way to far for far too long. And I dnt have high hopes for any change though I continue to be vigil. I was raised in a mixed-race (hate that term) home & I was taught to not see ppl by race but by heart. So in turn I dnt see color or religion when I look @ you. I played cowboy’s & indians when I was a kid. Sometimes I Geronimo but alot of times, I was the Lone Ranger. And seeing little kids whose faces & hearts havent yet been faded by such things as hate or bigotry dressed as squaws & warrior chiefs a few nights a year hasnt offended Me or set the race back one damn bit!! I think in My everyday life as a living breathing navajo/apache native american in the Now, I strive just as much as My neighbors & friends do in theirs regardless of heritage. I am the best I can be for the time I live in. And itz tough to be a the best of both ur heritage & your lifestyle sometimes. But I think we should concentrate on the importance of our goal & not the trivial. They do not define us as proud indigenous race. And nor should we let them. I was born on a reservation not far from where this lady is speaking but was brought up far from it. I have traveled many miles for many moons away from it but hope to return someday very soon after a long absence & contribute all I can to the my tribe. To learn, to teach & to live. Itz a pretty common wish of all nationalities to do so. I intend on taking advantage as soon as possible. And things like holiday party costumes & butter & prideful speeches wont deter or discourage nor incite me in any way.
For I am native american & itz in me to do so.

Raven

I totally understand and respect your viewpoint, as I do every other Native American’s. As a white man, I don’t have a right to say whether or not this offends you. This goes for every other poster here. In my mind, if someone finds it offensive, whether it be for the logo of certain sports teams, or the usage of native regalia used as costumes, then I would not agree with it. Any white person who says “get over it” shows their total ignorance

Frederick The RattleHorn

First let me qualify this reply by stating, that I, to my knowladge, am not of any native tribe or nation of the Americas. However I still find this topic personally important. I have traditions and customs similar to native traditions and customs. For example I wear feathers in my hair, have a tradition of ritual braiding of my hair, and bare tattoos remarkably similar to Native American designs, but despite not being Native American it doesn’t stop people from assuming I am, and it is because of stereotypes and negative imagery such as the Native American costume during Halloween the perpetuates such ignorance and narrow mindedness. . . I have many friends and colleagues from many nations and understand the anger that comes from these images all to well, I personally dislike these costumes and do not allow them in any establishments that I’m working. I especially find them offensive because I work in bars, night clubs and lounges and have to watch people use these costumes on Halloween to try and get in and get drunk which also perpetuate the negative stereotypes of alcoholism within Indian culture. I dislike any ethnic costume but Native American costumes enrage me the most. I do what I can to stop such ignorance but I’m glad I finally found a video to Express my opinion in calmer, better to understand, and actual Native American perspective. I will be sharing this video on my Facebook page.

Dana

I do not see anything wrong with dressing up as Native Americans just like I don’t see issues with dressing up as anyone else from any other culture, religion, etc. It is generally a time of learning. The fact they even think about dressing up as one of those I listed instead of someone walking around with blood covering them and half their face ripped away is a step up I think. No one is dressing up in costume to ridicule or tease anyone. At times such as Halloween its all just fun.

Now I do not agree with the sexualness of the costumes. Last night there was a mom that brought her daughter by my house to trick or treat and the MOM was wearing a ref costume and the shorts couldn’t get any shorter.. Not appropriate for a childrens trick or treat scene.

Sam

I definitely agreed with it. Those costumes are deplorable and disgusting. Most white people don’t get how offensive these costumes are. They are far from accurately depicting native culture. Most natives are very conservative that is why like they would never be caught dead showing their body parts! The buckskin dresses are beautiful but they completely cover and are handmade! The hard work natives do to try to create a positive image is always over shadowed by garbage like this!

JAMES (STEVEN) BOLTON

IM SORRY BUT I THINK ITS OK TO PLAY COWBOYS AND INDIANS IN FACT HEALTHY I WAS TOUGHT ALOT BY HAVING FUN AS A KID I ALSO PLAYED ARMY I WAS TOUGHT ABOUT BOWS AND ARROWS AND GUNS I WAS INSTRUCTED BY MY PARENTS AND RELITIVES ON EACH PART OF IT SAFTY AND SHOOTING STRAIGHT AND NOT HURTING ANIMALS ECT. I HAVE NOTHING BUT RESPECT FOR MY SELF AND MY HERATAGE AND IF I WANT TO DRESS UP MY COSTUME IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN SOME STORE BOUGHT CRAP ITs INDIAN PRIDE MONTH I UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY BUT I DO NOT AGREE WITH HER COMPLETELY JOHN WAYNE MOVIES SHOWED ALOT OF INDIANS THAT WERE NOT REAL FAKE AS HELL BUT IT DID NOT BOTHER ME I KNOW THE DIFFRENCE BETWEEN REAL AND FAKE TEACH KIDS AND THEY WILL KNOW THE DIFFRENCE TOO IF SOMETHING IS DONE IN A TASTELESS MANNER HAVE THE WISDOM TO KNOW IT BUT DONT WASTE ANOTHER MINUTE ON IT MOVE ON KEEP YOUR PRIDE DONT LOWER YOURSELF TO LET THEM SEE IT BOTHERS YOU OR US AS A PEOPLE TEACH THE OLD WAYS TO YOUR YOUNG AND PRIDE IN WHO THEY ARE AND DO WHAT YOU CAN TO PROTECT MOTHER EARTH FROM PEOPLE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TO TREAT HER PRIDE IN YOUR SELF AND TEACHING IT TO OAR YOUNG IS VERY IMPORTANT BUT TRYING TO STOP COPYCATS IS NOT THE ANSWER TEACHING THE COPY CAT MAKES MORE SENCE TO ME MABY I HAVE IT WRONG IN MOST OF YOUR EYES BUT IT IS HOW I WAS RAISED PRIDE IN YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO NOT WHAT OTHERS DO I WALK MY PATH ALONE IF I HAVE TOO BUT I WILL NOT HATE JUST BECOUSE SOMEONE IMMITATES I LIKE TO THINK I AM ABOVE ALL OF THAT SORRY IF YOU DO NOT AGREE IT IS JUST MY OPNION I DONT WANT TO BE A BAND WAGON AND JUMP ON ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT FIT INTO THE OPNIONS OF OTHERS MY BLOOD IS STILL RED AND MY PRIDE IS STILL MINE NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME ESPECALLY NOT LITTLE KIDS TRICK OR TREATING PLS KNOW THE DIFFRENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE TRYING TO BE LIKE INDIANS AND RACEST HATERS OF THE INDIANS AS A PEOPLE.

Frederick The RattleHorn

I enjoyed your opinion and found your point of view rather interesting. I think you might enjoy a documentary called Reel Injun. Check it out.

Patricia Pugh

It sickened me to know this is happening to the people that was here before any of us and that it will continue to happen unless people start standing up for each other. I don’t have words for how i feel but proud is not one of them. I have enjoyed this and i will be sending it to all my friends.

theresa Reed

Thank you so much for this BRAVO. I am Cherokee and even though I still wear my braids I am so glad that the internet and movies are being addressed. Many times we have been make fun of but have always tried to tell them the truth about our culture. Keep up the good work we must never forget who we are. We must keep teaching and informing all that we can about the truth. Remember your native name and be proud.

Just me

Yes… native American women are the most victimized women in the US… but she fails to mention that these women are mostly victimized by native American men. The police they depend upon to protect them are tribal police.

The problem ISN’T images … the problem is blaming others for your troubles at home. We could wipe out all references to native American costumes and desexualize the media… but that ISN’T going to protect anyone because the criminals don’t care about what the women are wearing. They care about pleasing themselves and getting away with their crimes.

Oh… and for the record… google the phrase “aunt jemima costume” that HASN’T gone away.

jeremiah wilson

i think she had some good points but i think she also spoke in some hyperthetical aspect as factual, just cuz u have an native birthday party doesn’t mean you’ll go to teen native parties or such others she spoke of. i am a native cherokee, arapaho , do see no 1 but blacks can say nigga but everyone can say red skin. my skin isn’t red, my blood is.

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow

PowWows.com