so i've seen a lot of native american appropriative bullshit on my dash lately
and people trying to tell these dumbfucks how fucking dumb they are and them not getting it.
i’m currently reading A People’s History of the United States of America by Howard Zinn. It hasn’t been too long since i read the first chapter Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress. On the first page of the book is a paragraph that Columbus wrote in his diary describing their “ignorance”, leading him to believe that “they would make fine servants…with fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
and every time i see these white hipsters with war paint on their faces and with headdresses on their head modeling in some low opacity photo under the bullshit euphemism that is “honoring”, I think to myself…it’s as if that diary entry also said “just like i’m going to steal their land for ‘human progress,’ years and generations from now, my daughters and sons will steal their culture so that they, too, can progress…(their fashion and aesthetic) and honor (the genocide and demise of these people that i will lead) and everyone will see this honor in every feather hung from their ear and will pay 80 dollars for it at Urban Outfitters.”
It really bums me out when...
bloggers I follow do Native American-esque photo shoots = immediate unfollow. GET SMART!!!
And especially this one, to you Sometimes Sweet: http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-hipster-headdress.html
I wound up combining two long-standing rants in my head.
Both gender and race. @Moononwaters, that response to you a few days ago is in this… somewhere.
The appropriation conversations that go on, I really don’t particularly feel that I fit on either side of the lines drawn.
Because I didn’t come into these circles for the sake of yelling at anybody on the internet. I’ve done that on plenty of other places on plenty of other topics. I do it in writing with some of my characters. In the words of Johnny Devine, “being pro wrestlers, you can talk all the shit in the world to me, it ain’t gonna phase me ‘cause I’ve heard it all. You can call me every name in the book and I can probably rip you a new asshole, if you wanna get into a verbal sparring match. Never bring a knife to a gunfight, ‘cause I’m carrying howitzers.” If need be, if we really wanna throw the rulebook out the window, I can make just about anybody look like a fool.
I came here to learn about my grandfather’s legacy, to understand why he was the way he was and to put the attitudes I was raised in into a context that some of them didn’t have because there wasn’t the same opportunity there for free conversation about some things. And through that, to understand myself. There are parts of it I understand through verbal family angles (the role of figures like Geronimo, Juh, Cochise, Lozen, Victorio, Magnas Coloradas, Nana… that the Chiricahua identify more with their band (ours Chihene) and such) and some things I learned more recently (how the heck my great-grandma made the foods she made because my grandmother didn’t make the same things).
I don’t know that my trans issues and my cultural issues untangle. I never particularly felt out of place within my grandparents’ home, which WAS my primary childhood home from age 2 to age 16; my gender alignment veering from… what the outside world expected… wasn’t brought up because it never seemed to be deemed necessary to be brought up. All the same, I can’t say it was fully embraced— particularly by my grandmother, who tried to counter my want for things like karate with cooking and sewing (not that those aren’t valuable lessons to learn, mind, and really more with the intent of always being able to sustain oneself and cater to personal preferences)— so there are still things to work around. But I was never, within the home, made to feel that my play types as a child were wrong because they were more traditional male ways of playing. That my clothing choices were more “boy” colors or neutral cuts (fuck’s sake, my grandmother had that type of dress herself, and short hair). Within the home I was never taught that something was wrong because the Bible, or any holy book, said it was wrong. I was not taught that this was a Christian country based on Christian morals. I was not taught that any type of sex in particular was different from another— sex itself was one of those undiscussed things in that house along with criticizing others’ spiritual paths, romance was not idealized, but at least nothing was smeared as the “incorrect” way. More— emphasis on individual pursuits. Learning. Succeeding and being productive.
So many things came up, in retrospect, upon going to my mom’s full time mid-puberty and being enveloped into this… other… mainstream culture without someplace to retreat. There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t have learned without that journey, but boy.
For one thing, I wouldn’t have the ability to explain things in words like I do if I hadn’t.
I’m Native AND white. I’ve never claimed to not be white. I’m this too. I’m learning to walk between those worlds just like I’m learning to walk between genders. And it’s interesting. When people see me, they make assumptions on who I am based on having a pretty-girl-body and an a facial shape that isn’t easily identifiable racially. This used to make me direly uncomfortable. Before I really knew what it was about those assumptions that made me uncomfortable, I was diagnosed as having social anxiety.
What does this have to do with the dramz?
Well, I’m as done with running from female pronouns as I am done with the idea that I have to play up the female physical features other people like so much when I don’t particularly give a shit about said features. I’m going to play up the features in me I like; and still I can’t (or WON’T) be angry at other people for not having had the opportunity to know me yet.
Similarly, I’m not going to be angry or irate with a pale stranger whose cultural identity I don’t fucking know yet and whose history I don’t fucking know yet does something ignorant. I’ve learned through talking to people that if you present a viewpoint they haven’t seen before in an open way instead of a threatening one, a good part of the time you’ll see this surprise and curiosity start to unfold. It’s genuine, it’s childlike, it’s interesting, and it can change people’s lives. I know this because I’ve changed people’s lives with it, and my life has been constantly changed by it.
Hey… I see you’re wearing this dreamcatcher as a piece of jewelry. I think you have a general idea where that came from… but do you know what the story behind it is? The people it came from are still alive. A lot of people don’t know what kind of conditions they live in today, or the history behind white people taking up their regalia… I can tell you about it if you want. There’s a lot more to it than you’ve seen, because it’s really a whole continent of cultures, mine is just one. If you’re interested in wearing something of theirs that has meaning, is a lot more individual and beautiful than this and actually benefits them, I can show you that too.
Instead of just pointing and screaming RACIST, I’d personally rather tell them that dreamcatchers don’t work as symbols like crosses, warpaint is usually something to hide the shame of taking lives, and women didn’t wear warbonnets not out of sexism inasmuch as in many native cultures they had their own power and didn’t need to add.
If they spit in my face, I can just as easily turn it around to make them feel like silly children in bad costumes.
That patience is something I learned from my native grandfather. It took great strides to make that man angry; usually he just didn’t deal with you once you proved not worthwhile to deal with, no matter the personal cost— but he always gave an individual person the opportunity to show themselves.
When he actually got angry, nobody in the fucking vicinity wasn’t shaking.
I think that’s the kind of man— the kind of person— I’d aspire to be.
And as postscript that has more to do with the above video perhaps than the topic that I just unwound… the most intelligent person I ever knew… couldn’t read for most of her life. My Scottish-descent grandmother who was abandoned by her family at twelve, married and had her first child at fourteen, had another twelve children over her life, worked as hard her whole life as my native grandfather on the other family tree, and was dyslexic in top of being mostly unschooled. What kind of first impression would you have of her without knowing her story?
"a message from the girl in the Native American headdress"
(submitted, feministdisney commentary in bold)
Hey there. I see that you reblogged my photo and added commentary, and while I respect your opinion, I would like to share my own. I have a few different points I want to address. First of all, I am not sorry for posting that picture. I am sorry if it offended people as that wasn’t my intention, but I personally don’t think it is offensive. Maybe you’re right, maybe I do “have no idea” why people are offended, but that is not due to ignorance. Of course I’m aware of the persecution of and prejudice towards Native Americans, and out of curiosity, I read this blog post: http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2010/04/but-why-cant-i-wear-hipster-headdress.html
I found it interesting, and I recommend people read it if they’re interested in the topic. But even though I think it’s well-written and fairly reasonable, I disagree with most of it. I’ll break down the article for you and add my opinion on some of the key points.
One last thing
I’m not being an elitist. If you look up the definition… I’m not for a dominant race. I’m for equal rights for all.
But I’ll be damned if I let you represent my culture if you are just going to make us look like uneducated dolts with words of hate. That is why I felt the need to ostracize you from the culture; you misrepresent us.
You look and sound no better than the people appropriating us.
Hate doesn’t beget hate. You can’t kill fire with fire.
That is why I do things the way I do. Kill them with kindness. That is always how I’ve done things and I have gotten through to people that way. Why? Because someone on my tumblr had a talk with me about all of these things and educated me in that fashion.
Scotch PieI think the issue here is that people are defending the Spirithoods for the wrong reasons. If you want a warm hat buy a warm hat. I believe wearers of Spirithoods are seeking some deeper enlightenment. It is this that conflicts with the Native American ideal. We are guilty of appropriation without understanding. Not understanding the tragedy that is the history of Native Americans. It is no more different than an alien race invading, conquering and decimating Scotland then going around wearing kilts because they think its cool, that is the point Mea is making.
I wanted to share this point of view because I do not believe Spirithood(tm) understand what they are doing.