indigenous culture

PSA:

being half native, i am beyond tired of this reoccurring theme. for all of you cryptid fans, the wendigo, thunderbirds, skinwalkers, etc. are NOT cryptids. they are a part of indigenous culture and are spirits/entities, and not anything like mothman. they are religious and cultural folklore, despite the fact that cryptozoologists try to classify them as cryptids. 

also, do not associate any non-indigenous oc’s with ANY spirits from native culture and folklore, as it is very insensitive (i.e. kylo ren wendigo, named “rendigo”) to the culture and considered white-washing. our culture, practices, and religion has already been stretched far and thin over the years. be respectful please.

Dear non-natives

The Plains warbonnet is not a Cherokee thing. It is not a Navajo thing. It is not an Indian thing. It is a Plains thing.

Stop calling every silly thing you draw that even vaguely resembles a native “Cherokee” or “Navajo” or “Aztec.”

Stop drawing the warbonnet everywhere as the apparently definitive native thing. It isn’t part of all of our 600+ cultures.

Same goes for the tipi, not part of every one of the 600+ indigenous cultures.

Stop thinking that if a native person doesn’t have dark, “mahogany” skin, that their heritage is invalid. Even without admixture, we actually do have varying skin tones.

Stop wearing crappy fake warbonnets.

Stop wearing redface.

Stop using us as your silly mascots. We are people.

Stop saying “spirit animal.” It’s derived from a New Age bastardization of a something that actually exists in some of our cultures.

Don’t smudge. Cleanse all you like, that’s fine, but don’t smudge.

Don’t call us “Indians.” “Native American” isn’t great either, it is not our name, but it’s slightly better than “Indian.” “Indigenous” is also fine.

Don’t use NDN/ndn. That is ours.

Step off about our hair. If you meet a long-haired native, admire it if you like, maybe even ask them about it (RESPECTFULLY), but do not touch. The same applies for someone with short hair, but additionally for those with short hair, don’t say things like “oh you’d look more native/Indian/etc if your hair was long.” We didn’t all traditionally have long, flowing hair. Believe it or not, there are actually different haircuts existing in our various cultures, and aside from that ultimately it’s a personal choice, one does not need to have long hair if they don’t want to. Doesn’t make them any less native to have short hair.

Don’t pray to our spirits/gods/energies. Native spiritualities are closed, they are not for outsiders.

Don’t say “The Native Americans believed…” Firstly, the past tense is silly, we still exist and do things. Secondly, we are NOT A MONOLITH. As I mentioned before, there are upwards of 600 different Native American cultures.

Don’t ask about someone’s “Indian name.” That’s not only insensitive, the name you are referring to in that instance is something sacred, and might not be something that person wants to share with you.

Don’t call yourself silly crap like “howling wolf” or “flying eagle.” That’s also racist and insensitive.

Regardless of whatever you might think you’re doing, or what your intentions may be, if a native person tells you that what you’re doing is disrespectful, STOP DOING IT.

You aren’t honoring us. You’re just mocking us further, demonstrating your continued ability to treat us like shit and get away with it even now, centuries after our colonization began. Your feelings are not more important than our history and survival.

To those doing your best as allies, thank you, keep doing what you do. HOWEVER, don’t let opportunities to educate others escape you. By letting them continue to be ignorant, you are failing. Spread the message.

There will be no “please.” It’s been more than 500 years, and we still are made to be invisible in our homelands. Still we are treated like less. Some even think we all died long ago.

We are still here

We will still be here

Treat us with respect.

A Theyyam is a form of ritualistic worship from Kerala, India. There exists over 400 different Theyyams, in which a vast number of different traditions and customs are performed in order to worship cultural heroes and ancestral spirits.

It is said by some academics that this modern folk ritual is extremely ancient, displaying particular traits which existed in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras.

World Indigenous Peoples Day 2017

August will be here soon! On August 9th, we’ll be celebrating World Indigenous Peoples Day!

On that day, The Aila Test would love to feature all indigenous / aboriginal people from around the world.

If you are indigenous, submit to us or tag us in selfies, photographs, artwork, poetry, short films, any media project, or any news/events that you’d like us to shine a light on and bring more attention to!

National Aboriginal Day was such a great success and it was really beautiful and healing to see so many Indigenous people. It would be wonderful to see it again. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to celebrate ourselves, our culture, our history, and the things we’ve shared with each other and the world.

Please spread the word!

Watch on pbstv.tumblr.com

WATCH: “I Am an Alaska Native Dancer”

Haliehana Stepetin is a master Alaska Native dancer whose life goal is to promote and teach the many styles of dance found throughout the diverse Alaska Native cultures. See her story in “I Am an Alaska Native Dancer” from  Alaska Public Media.