Given that this was 2008, I’m hoping that you’ve since learned that dressing up in such a stereotypical fashion is not just offensive…but actively helps to maintain colonial oppression of indigenous peoples by constantly ‘othering’ and ‘commodifying’ us.
The thing is, your costume isn’t an accurate representation at all…and yet because this visual image has been repeated so many times in Hollywood films, in costumes such as these, and in other forms of media, many people in the US and Canada erroneously believe it IS accurate. In fact, these inaccurate displays of us and our cultures have replaced us and our cultures in the minds of non-natives.
This ties into the way in which non-natives literally define what is and what is not ‘authentically indigenous’. They do this in federal policy, they do this in court decisions and in the pieces of legislation they pass to determine what rights they’re going to ‘give us’ over ourselves and our lands. And while it is not immediately apparent to someone who is just looking for a sexy costume for Halloween, the way that ordinary people ‘play indian’ is pivotal in the formation of the way future lawyers, judges, ministers, law enforcement, teachers, civil servants, social workers, bankers and so on see us and treat us.
Individual actions based on collective misrepresentations have a direct impact on our lives. Please don’t do this again.