- confused? Time to revisit Andrea Smith’s article, “Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy”.
And this is why not ignoring this kind of shit actually works.
Pretty sad that she still doesn’t seem to understand what she’s done wrong despite many people taking a lot of time to spell it out to her.
Sometime you can’t convince people, so you have to shame them.
I don’t like the title they chose for this article, as it seems most people who commented literally only read the title before responding. Sheesh.
A lot of attention has been drawn to the native fashion trend in the past year or so. From violations of the Navajo trademark, to No Doubt and Victoria’s Secret experiencing a long-overdue backlash to the all-too common misuse of Plains warbonnets; the issues surrounding ‘native inspired’ fashion are being talked about on a wider scale.
What a lot of people are asking is, “If we love native fashion, where can we get it without engaging in cultural appropriation?”
Jessica Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) has been answering that question for quite some time on her blog, Beyond Buckskin. Even more awesome, she launched the Beyond Buckskin Boutique which gives you instant access to legitimate native fashion, from haute couture to streetwear, modern and traditional.
In a recent article, Jessica Metcalfe was asked how launching a ‘native fashion’ boutique is any different than what Urban Outfitters and so many other companies are doing. I think her response is well worth quoting here:
- I work with Native American artists – folks who are active members of Native communities.
- These artists are exceptionally talented.
- They are also very knowledgeable and smart about their cultures and cultural values and know which items (ie sacred items) are off-limits and shouldn’t be sold.
- They know how to translate the artistic traditions of their Native communities to be shared by people from ALL backgrounds.
- They don’t resort to stereotypes, and they present a new vision and a new version of ‘the Native’ in fashion.
- They are incredibly respectful of Native people.
- Profits from the Beyond Buckskin Boutique go directly to these artists and support small businesses, many of which are in Native communities and represent economic development strategies. I could go on.
This is pretty much as good as it gets, in my opinion. There is a difference between appropriation and appreciation, and Metcalfe pretty clearly lays out what they are above. Beyond Buckskin has a page devoted to a variety of native-run stores you can browse this holiday season for some kickass presents for you or others. Take a look at some of what is available out there, for natives and non-natives alike!
So whether you’re looking for someone awesome to spend your money on and treasure for always, or if you’re just sick of people asking you, “Are we allowed to wear ANYTHING AT ALL!?” you can use this resource as resounding, “YES PLEASE!”
This goes out to all those Natives out there who had to put up with people throwing those fake war whoops and the open palm greeting that white people love so much. The ones who got called chug or prairie n***er, halfbreed or mongrel. Just another dirty indian. Just a fuckin’ indian. A stupid squaw or a dumb neech.
Fight back. Persevere.
Because we’ve all been told that we were ugly. That we weren’t good enough. That we’d better be thankful for the largesse of the moniyawak for they are so generous with the land and resources that they stole from us so that they can afford to put a coin in our shaking plastic cups.
And we see how the same people who called us names and maintained our inferiority, we see how they steal our sacred things. How they celebrate their own beauty with this appropriation.
They don’t care much for us, but they like our stuff. Like our land. Like our water. Like our souls and our expressions. Just not us, ugly and wretched as we are.
And we see the replication of racist ideas too. The essentialized primitivity. The moribund and passive savage, recreated for the edification of a society and a wider world grown fat on spectacle and novelty, confirming those implicitly held beliefs of settler/colonial superiority.
We see how normalized it is, how names like Redskin are considered acceptable, and will be defended by people who have never been called a redskin. Who never got chased on foot through a field by men in pickup trucks shouting redskin.
We see that it is everywhere, and we see that no one really gives a shit. Maybe it’s because we’re all supposed to be dead?
And we see how this is a subversion of prior indigenous claim to illegitimately claimed terriroty, by lashing this constructed colonial idea of the “indian savage” to “American History.” As if we don’t have our own history. As if “American History” wasn’t just bit of spit floating in a 10 gallon bucket full of rain water.
We see these things, but we can’t let them slide.
So persevere, and fight back. We aren’t the ugly ones, after all. Racism is probably the ugliest thing going, and it fits them like couture lingerie.
I know a lot of people are saying, “shut up about headdresses already!” but it’s a great opportunity to talk to people about what else we’re dealing with right now.
I feel like I talked over the dude a little though hahahahaha.
watercolour on paper.
Copyright ⓒ 2012 by Saeyaya.
So tomorrow Im gonna be the model (…I dont mean that as in oh hey im gonna be eye candy cuz im so pretty look at me ugh lol no no no, I mean it as in thats the technical word for what I will be. Maybe subject is a better word? Hmm anyways….) for my friend, who is also my favorite photographer. A professional makeup artist will be doing my face and such, and there will be a videographer, so it should be fun!
Check her out, Ive mentioned her before because she is PHENOMENAL (and is currently nominated for photographer of the year!):
Im just a bit nervous because Im the worst model/subject for photographers because Im so nervous, self-conscious, completely unphotogenic jesus christ like you have no idea, and I have this horrible habit of making horrific and ugly faces when a camera is pointed at me ahahahahahahaha……
So yeah. Were going to be shooting for a Native American look to the pictures. I get to wear a headdress and pose with horses! Sounds like a party to me.
An example of what we want:
I’ll post official edits once I get them!
Please do not do this.
In particular, please do not wear a warbonnet. For all the reasons why you should not wear this particular Plains-culture specific headdress, please read this. You should also take a look at the Hall of Shame, with almost 1500 pictures of people doing the ‘native american theme’ thing. The theme itself is incredibly unoriginal, and has been done to death.
If you decide that your actions are harmless (they aren’t) and that somehow you should get a pass to be disrespectful to the cultures from which the headdress comes from…if you think that it’s acceptable to perpetuate Hollywood stereotypes that homogenise 500+ distinct cultures into one pastiche of ‘native american’, then please for the love of everyone’s sanity…don’t tag the pictures #native american.
I’ve got over a thousand recent pictures of people of all ethnicities engaged in cultural appropriation and racist stereotyping of indigenous people, not to mention the various singers and bands (again, of various ethnicities) celebrating the same in videos and on stage.
So yes, to those who like to say that this isn’t really a big deal, that people get it’s not okay, and that we should never, ever compare it to other forms of racist costuming because when this happens to us it’s not comparable at all (as though those kinds of racial costuming don’t happen anymore and are not in fact defended by those who do it)…please look around you and see just how widespread these racist stereotypes are. You can literally find them plastered EVERYWHERE.
The ‘outcry’ is minimal and mostly coming from indigenous peoples.
It would be really, really great if that could change. Only a loud outcry can turn back this tsunami of fucked up marketing.
No Doubt — Looking Hot
Fuck everything about this.