Hi, I’m a native woman.

What’s that?  No honey, the fact that the okimâwastotin (that headdress worn by clueless hipster girls all the time) is generally reserved for males in Plains cultures is not sexist or patriarchal. You can stop trying to ‘save us from sexism’ thanks.

In fact, we were centuries ahead of you in the gender equality department.  There are of course a great diversity of socio-political traditions in our various nations, but one thing comes through loud and clear…our women held positions of power.  Not merely over hearth and home, but politically as well.  In some nations, women run the roost, and this without denigrating or subjugating men (in case you were worried).

Centuries of racist and sexist interference by European powers has taken its toll.  We do indeed face sexism in our communities, to an extent unthinkable before Contact. It is sadly the case that the oppressed often internalise their oppressor, and the oppressor for us has always been racist, and sexist. 

To combat this, we look to our traditions, which are egalitarian.  Where men and women are respected and venerated.  We do not fumble towards equality as sameness, as so many settler feminists insist we should (in our context only, as they often recognise this is a ridiculous approach otherwise).  We revive equity.  We acknowledge different gender roles, and recognise that the female is not subservient in our cultures. 

When we discuss ‘women’s power’ and ‘women’s roles’, you hear echoes of your history.  But your history is not ours.  Our history speaks proudly of the strength of our women and our men.  Gender roles were not created in our societies to elevate men and turn women into chattel.

You settler women have much to overcome.  Your history is fraught with inequality and abuses.  I am sorry that you come from such twisted traditions.

Do not attempt to transplant your historical circumstances into our Nations.  You have no idea what the headdress means in our cultures.  To claim that the restrictions on who can wear it are ‘sexist’ merely highlights this ignorance…your inability to see outside your own cultural norms, outside your own sad, sexist cultural history. 

Colonisers always believe they have the right to define reality, particularly for those they have colonised.  What kind of feminist are you, when you take part in these inequalities of power, and proclaim for us the meaning of our own symbols and traditions? 

In case you’re not sure, it makes you a racist feminist. 

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