pan indian

Horizon Zero Dawn and Cultural appropriation: A very different view.

For the first time EVER, I’m sitting on the other side of a discussion about appropriating native culture.  Why?  Well, let me lay the framework.

First off, I’m not a guy who “knows a Native American” or has a “Native friend”  I am a 100% Anishinabe (Ojibway) dude who lives on reserve and has fought racism, stereotypes, pan-Indianism, and cultural appropriation fiercely for as long as I can remember. I’ve been the victim of horrendous racial violence as a child, adolescent, and adult, and I’m also a gamer.

I am the first to point out anything that smacks of any of the above and after I saw the Dia Lacina essay on “Horizon: Zero Dawn” being culturally insensitive and appropriating Native culture, I felt for the first time in a situation like this that I had to say something in rebuttal.

Lacina takes issue with the use of the words Tribal, Primitive, Braves, and Savage being used in the game (fyi they’re used to describe predominantly white people in game and they’re White words we didn’t use to describe ourselves thus I claim no ownership of, nor want to, anymore than I want to be a redskin, Indian or Wahoo)  

It seems (IMO) that most of her beef comes from an apparent belief that numerous aspects of generic tribal culture that appear in the game (making clothing from skins, hunting with spears and bows, living in a Matriarchal society, etc) are the sole domain of the Native American and just to be safe and cleverly keep her POV less subject to scrutiny, she applies it even more broadly to indigenous people world wide (I will just refer to us in particular as NA cuz I’m lazy and I also don’t refer to myself as a Native American) and basically that anything that is remotely “tribal” shouldn’t be used in gaming without our or someone else’s permission.

 In fairness, I don’t know if she’s actually played the game but as someone who is currently in the midst of doing exactly that, I can tell you that I have a pretty good idea of what stuff triggered her being upset and why, and while I absolutely respect her right to get offended by whatever she likes, and she makes excellent points about some other games, I am going to point out that there are flaws with this logic.

First of all, the basics: HZD is set in a post-post-apocalyptic future where people are living in tribal groups in a very destroyed world.  Machines exist but as hybrid animal/dinosaur type creatures and technology is pretty much non-existent in day to day human life.  

The heroine of the story is a red haired, white girl named Aloy who lives as an outcast with her adopted father, Rost.  Without giving a lot away, they are fiercely shunned by the local tribe for something Rost did and also the fact that Aloy is motherless.  

Impressively and rightly, though somewhat dismissively remarked upon by Lacina, is the way women and especially women of color are portrayed so positively in-game as this particular tribe is a total Matriarchy run by elders of various ethnicity.  African, Asian, White, and a variety of undefined people of color are common everywhere in the game.  (The leader of one band of warriors is a very fierce, commanding, intelligently portrayed black woman with a powerful presence.)  It reflects a fairly global society from a “skin color” perspective without any horrible accents or broken speech.

They worship an “All-Mother” goddess and their culture is (at least how I saw a lot of it) fairly heavy on European i.e. Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, etc type symbolism and the rest is filled in with mostly generic tribal-ish stuff that you could find in countless cultures around the world.

 I really didn’t get a “Native American” vibe off the game.  Of course, I don’t automatically presume to claim sole ownership of things like tribal life, hunting with bows and spears, and worshiping spirits of various elements solely for my own.  Random fact: Because there are over 500 distinct First Nations in N. America, we, believe it or not, didn’t all ride horses, live in tipis, use bows and arrows, tobacco and sage, and worship Eagles and Wolves.  Why? Well…use your brain.  Tobacco and Sage don’t grow EVERYWHERE, horses came over with the Europeans (and if you saw where I live you couldn’t have and cant for the most part get a horse through the bush if you tried) Eagles and Wolves don’t live EVERYWHERE….get the point?  Anyways….

If you examine Rost, he like most of the men has a braided beard and other seemingly Viking/Middle Ages inspired features, is white, speaks clear, unbroken English, and is a loving, protective and very positive role model for the girl.   Aloy for her part, is also fairly Viking-esque (to the point of looking incredibly like Lagaertha from the show Vikings but with red hair) also Egrit from GoT, and is no damsel in distress who needs men to save her. NOWHERE in the game have I encountered any Tipis, wigwams, Sweatlodges, or Non-White people speaking in stereotypical “Me smoke-um peace pipe, He go dat-a way” fashion.

The  opening cinematic is very touching (and long) as we see the orphaned Aloy as a baby in Rost’s care being carried around in a bundle on his back (which pretty much every culture did in one form or another at some point in time) and him ultimately taking her to the spot where a child of the tribe receives it’s name.

I really liked this idea as it isn’t often portrayed in a lot of mediums outside of stereotypical “Dances With Wolves” bullshit. Also, naming ceremonies are not the sole domain of NA people and what occurs bears zero resemblance to any NA ceremony I know of.  (It was actually a little Lion King at one point lol) But it’s a powerful moment in the beginning with much more that occurs during it but I won’t spoil that either.

Aloy herself is a pretty complex character.  She’s extremely independent, defiant, and questions pretty much everything about why things are the way they are and wants to do something about it.  You actually begin playing her as a 6 year old which is pretty unique and even then she’s tough and fearless and determined to explore her world.  

She is in no way hyper-sexualized (I’m looking your way Overwatch) Her clothing and everyone else’s, is utilitarian and appropriate for the environments she lives in, and so far, I have not encountered anything with her or any other character that made me go “WTF?”and trust me, my radar for that shit is HIGHLY SENSITIVE.  This isn’t Avatar, people.  It’s not John Smith. It’s not The Great Wall or Pocahontas.  This isn’t white dude shows up and saves the helpless non-white people while helpless native woman falls in love with him stuff.  It’s a fictitious future where we maniacs blew it up, damn us all to hell!

But here’s the more annoying thing for me as an actual Anishinabe.  I don’t need people speaking for me or getting offended on my behalf.  I am very capable of doing that myself. I am also in no way writing this claiming to be speaking for any other NA people or persons. It’s based on my observations from actually playing HZD and examining the various fictional “cultural” elements in the game.

If you see a skin tied inside a hoop and automatically assume it’s a dreamcatcher” ripping off “our culture” (FYI Dreamcatchers are a 20th century thing whose popularity was a result of pan-Indianism that exploded in the 70s.) or if you see feathers on a spear or as part of a costume (nowhere is anyone wearing a single eagle feather in the back of a beaded headband or a Dakota looking headdress either) and automatically presume it to be ripping off NA culture, you’re REEEEEEEEEEALY reaching.  If you think caring for the environment, obeying matriarchs, worshipping elemental spirits, or making your own clothes is solely the property of NA culture, see previous statement.

By all means get offended.  Get offended by Chief Wahoo.  Get offended by the Washington Redskins.  Get offended that thousands of Native women have been murdered or gone missing and nothing’s been done about it.  Get offended by Johnny Depp or Robert Beltran playing Native people instead of actual Native people getting those roles.  Get offended by shit like Adam Sandler’s “Ridiculous 6” where a native woman is called a “hot piece of red prairie meat” or Depp’s “Lone Ranger” movie.

Get offended that my family was destroyed by the Residential Schools and that the 60s scoop took babies away from their families and people, that forced sterilizations took place and mass graves of dead Native children exist at former Residential School sites.

Don’t just jump on the I’m offended bandwagon because you saw some feathers or skins or spears or bows in a game and immediately grew indignant and wanted to claim them as OUR culture.  They’re not.  They’re almost globally universal in numerous cultures at various points in time.  Get offended, as she rightly mentioned, when the game Overwatch sexualizes the shit out of almost every female character and takes West Coast tribal art and makes a costume out of it.  

THAT is appropriation.  White people holding powwows in Europe (powwows are also pretty much not traditional and are extremely pan-Indian, not to mention full of us appropriating each other’s Native cultures ie. Dakotas wearing Jingle Dresses, Ojibway wearing Dakota regalia, etc) is appropriation.

This game……I’m just not seeing it the same way.  And I’m nobody.  I have no ties to Guerilla or anybody other than myself and my community.

Tiger Lily through the ages…

Disney (1953), Carsen Gray (2003),  Q'orianka Kilcher (2011), Rooney Mara (2015)

Way to white it up, Warner Bros.  And the casting directors specifically said they are not looking for native actors.  


Tommy , Prey (2006)   //  Human Head Studios Videogame

Prey is a Sci-Fi FPS made by Human Head Studios, using id’s Doom 3 engine. The game features the traditional shooter banter, as well as some unique puzzles. To solve these puzzles, you need to walk on the ceiling, walls, and go through portals to complete.

The story focuses on Domasi Tawodi (also known as “Tommy”), a Cherokee garage mechanic and former United States Army soldier living on a Native American reservation in Oklahoma. At the beginning of the game, Tommy is in a bar owned by his girlfriend, Jen. After an unfortunate bar fight, the entire building is lifted up by a gravitational force into a green light above. Tommy, Jen, and Tommy’s grandfather, Enisi, are transported skyward to the massive alien starship called the Sphere.

Domasi (Tommy) Tawodi’s background was chosen due to the amount of mythology in Cherokee oral tradition. Tommy is voiced by Michael Greyeyes, and Jen is voiced by Crystle Lightning, who are both Plains Cree.

“I was impressed with the way [3D Realms] conceived of and wrote Tommy… Hollywood typically relegates our different indigenous cultures either into a single pan-Indian construct of some type — radical AIM protester type; slick, corporate, anglicized casino businessman type; etcetera — or, most commonly, as a historical figure, typically from a Plains culture. In fact, the overwhelming majority of roles written for native actors are in the Western genre. There are few opportunities for us to appear outside that paradigm, and when we do it is often equally narrow in focus… The writers [at 3D Realms] were always open to my comments — which I freely offered — and took my notes seriously, in nearly all instances changing dialogue or thematic content.” - Michael Greyeyes

Peter Pan Imagine - Worried About You

- Fandom: Once Upon A Time

- Warnings: blood, injuries

- Length: long

~ gifs not mine ~

Yeah I know this sucks but whatever, it’s something to post haha


Felix’s voice made Peter Pan look up from where he’d been sharpening his knife with a rock. He abruptly stood and hurried up to his second-in-command, his face creasing in concern. “I know that look, what happened?” he demanded.

“It’s the Indians,” Felix explained. “Apparently Tiger Lily has gone missing and they’re blaming us. Tinkerbell told me, said she didn’t have time to come here to let you know herself.”

“Typical Indians,” Pan scoffed. “Blaming us for everything. Soon enough they’ll learn we don’t have her. We may have to prove our innocence though. Make sure all the Lost Boys are prepared for an ambush at anytime. I know they won’t find our camp but they will target the hunting parties.”

Felix nodded, taking his club off it’s seemingly-permanent resting place on his shoulder. “Yes, Pan,” he agreed. “We’ll bring extra weapons.”

“Lost Boys, gather ’round!” Pan yelled.

At once the other boys stopped what they were doing and gathered around him and Felix, looking at their leader expectantly.

Originally posted by netflixruinedmylifeimagines

“Felix has told me some exciting news,” Pan announced (gif). “Tiger Lily has gone missing and it’s no surprise the Indians are blaming us. I’ll send some boys out to collect more dreamshade—you can expect to be fighting here very soon.”

The boys murmured to each other excitedly, their eyes gleaming with hunger for a fight. This made Pan smile. He would lead the next hunting party purposely towards the Indian border. If his boys wanted a fight, they would get one. And the Lost Boys would win. They’ll have me, anyways, he thought. He’d taught his Lost Boys that fighting was fun and they always looked forward to it.

As everyone began to disperse, Devin hurried up to him. “Uh, Pan, there’s a hunting party near the Indian border right now, unaware of the threat.” he said.

“They have their arrows and spears and knives, they should be good,” Pan shrugged. “The only problem is the Indians have the element of surprise, but my boys are skilled fighters.”

Pan saw the unease on Devin’s face as plain as day. “Don’t worry,” he slapped him on the back. “It’s not like we haven’t had surprise attacks before. They can hold up their own, and that’s even if the Indians attack today. No guarantee.”

“Okay,” Devin agreed, reassured. Pan watched him walk away, then sat down on a log to finish sharpening his knife. His gaze travelled around the camp, soughting out (y/n). He didn’t see her.

“Felix!” he called, standing up. “Where’s (y/n)?”

“I sent out a hunting party earlier with her in it,” Felix replied.

Originally posted by enchanted-forests

Pan stared at Felix in dread, surprised at the worry he suddenly felt (gif). “That’s not good…”

“What?” Felix asked. “Are you worried about the Indians attacking them? Like you told Devin, they’ll be fine.”

“But (y/n) has never fought the Redskins before,” Pan snapped. “And she’s not prepared for a surprise attack.”

“(Y/n) is one of the best fighters we have,” Felix pointed out. “And like you said, Pan, there’s no guarantee those flea-ridden Indians will attack anytime soon.”

Pan’s brows furrowed in worry. “But (y/n)….”

“Is fine.” Felix finished. He grinned. “Who would’ve ever have guessed that Peter Pan would ever be the one to worry, of all people?”

“Shut up,” Pan growled, not in the mood for the teasing.

“Sorry, Pan,” Felix backed off with both hands up.

Later that evening

Pan was crouched and tossing sticks into the fire when he heard shouting in the distance. He shot up, yanking his knife from its sheathe, curious as to what all the commotion was about. The other boys turned their heads, alarmed.

He recognized the voices though, and a moment later saw four of his Lost Boys emerge from the undergrowth bloodied and bruised.

“Get Pan!” they yelled. “We were attacked!”

Everyone rushed towards them and Pan pushed his way through the crowd, knowing before it was even said that this was the Indians’ doing. What he saw as the returning boys spread out made his heart drop. William was at the back of the group, carrying (y/n) bridal style. Her head lolled over his arms and her body jolted with every step he took. Pan halted (gif), speechless for a moment and unsure of the flood of emotions that overtook him as he saw his only Lost Girl seemingly-lifeless in this boy’s arms.

Originally posted by straightillmorning

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anonymous asked:

So just how much Native ate you? You identify as Metis, so that makes you about 1/2 Caucasian. Do you even qualify for status? I am also assuming you do not consider our father in this equation of "aboriginality" I often find it amazing how people will go through all these mental gymnastics to try and rid themselves of all whiteness as if being of European (Caucasian) decent is automatically a bad thing!

It takes a lot to make my bypass my default mode of polite-and-assuming-the-best-of-people, anon, so that makes you special. Congratulations. Now sit down while I learn you some things. I’ll keep it point form for you.

  • In Canada, the Métis people are recognized as a distinct aboriginal people group in Canada.
  • Métis does not mean “part native”. Some people do use lowercase-m “metis” or “métis” to indicate being part settler/white/European and part Indigenous. This is particularly common in Ontario and Quebec. See the link at the end of this post to read more about pan-Métisism
  • But note the capital M when I talk about myself? See the bright red sash in my latest video? That’s ‘cause I’m Métis, with a capital M, as in—
  • The Métis people are a distinct people group.

  • We have our own language (Michif) with regional/geographic distinctions. Both historically and today we have our own distinct spiritual beliefs and religious practices. We have distinct traditional music, food, hunting practices, social events, ceremonies, holy days, and community beliefs and values.
  • We are a unique, distinct people group with a strong cultural identity and pride in our historical, traditional, and daily culture, lifestyle, and beliefs.
  • So now don’t you look silly? This is why we should not assume.

  • “You identify as Metis, so that makes you about ½ Caucasian.” Ha, no. That’s not how it works. See the other link at the end of this post to read more about that. In the meantime, let me learn you some more things.
  • Canada wanted to know how to define Métis people too, and to everyone’s surprise they didn’t just assume out of ignorance like yourself. They did the right thing and actually asked the Métis community.
  • What the Canadian government/Métis community came up with a three facet method of identification in 2003 (see R v. Powley)
  • In Canada, to be recognized as the government as Métis and to receive a Métis status card (which is a little different but very similar to the more well-known “indian status” card) you need to fit three criteria:
  • You need to personally identify as Métis (check)
  • You need to be accepted by a Métis community (check)
  • You need to have verifiable ancestral connection to a historic Métis community (check)

  • Oh look, I’m Métis!
  • That last point is the tenacious “blood quantum” thing you mentioned. And isn’t blood quantum a tricky thing? The great Métis leader, revolutionary, and poet Louis Riel said,
  • “It is true that our Native roots are humble, but it is right for us to honour our mothers as well as our fathers. Why should we concern ourselves with the extent of our European blood or our Indian blood? If we have any sense of appreciation or filial devotion to our parents, are we not obliged to say, “We are Métis.”? (translated)
  • Louis Riel argued that identity isn’t boiled down to race, or blood quantum. I agree. It’s about culture and identity, and it’s the same for métis people too.
  • A Métis person who is half native and a Métis person who can’t even be sure of blood quantum because of generations of intermarrying between Métis people are equally as Métis, so long as that is how they identify and live.
Shame on you for trying to invalidate my identity. 

Shame on you for pulling the reverse racism, “it’s okay to be white!!~”, “it’s not bad to be of european descent uwu” nonsense. As if I didn’t know that.

As if being Métis isn’t having as much pride in the parts of our culture that was handed down to us by our first European fathers as the parts of our culture that came from our Indigenous mothers.

And shame on you for thinking you can correct or educate a Métis person about themselves when you don’t even know who the Métis people are.

If you would have asked politely, coming from a place of at least a little humility, I would have been happy to link you some things to read and left it at that. But no. You had to be absolutely ridiculous and now here we are.

I hope you’ve learned something, anon. For me, this kind of ignorance is nothing I haven’t heard before.

For your further consideration:

You’re Métis? So which one of your parents is an Indian?

Pan-Indianism, Pan-Métisism

And, why you shouldn’t say “caucasian” when you mean white:

Both and more. It’s creating a false idea of what it means to be Indigenous today. It’s “Pan-Indianism”. It’s robbing the First Nations of their nationhoods and nationality. It’s making us all “Indian” instead of recognizing me as an Anishnabe or Ojibway. I’m NOT an “Indian”. I’m of the Anishnabe Nation. Also, it gives the impression that Natives are something from the past. Not here today. If you were to think of an “Indian” you certainly aren’t going to think of me, tattooed in a hoodie with a Sens cap on. We, as First Nation people, have never had control of our image in colonial media since its birth.
—  DJ NDN (in reference to why it’s inappropriate for non-native fans to wear headdresses at A Tribe Called Red shows)

Narratives of Punjab’s Partition (I’m addressing specifically Punjab’s rn- Bengal and Kashmir were also partioned, and the impact was horrible, but at the moment I’m just focusing on Punjab) really expose people’s anti-Sikh sentiments on both sides of the border.

Sikhs are blamed for “erasure” of the experiences of Muslims and Hindus in Punjab’s Partition. We are blamed for allegedly saying that the identifier of Punjabi is solely ours. However, in reality, we are only louder because we are one of the populations that lost the most. That fact is glossed over by people on both sides of the border, so we need to speak loud enough for you to hear us. We are not being loud to drown out your voice. We are being loud not to be drowned out by yours, because yours is hegemonic.

The truth is that during the pre-partition meetings Sikhs were duped into believing that they would receive an autonomous Punjabi sooba in the new country of India if they sided with Gandhi and Nehru. This was a lie and the Punjabi sooba wouldn’t be formed for another two decades, and not without the flowing of Sikh blood, and the removal of Himachal and Haryana from Punjab- making the remnants of the state unrecognizable.

The truth is that on the western side of the border our places of worship were taken away from us. The power vacuum partition created gave rise to small gangs taking control of Nankana Sahib and other places of worship. Sikhs who tried to access these Dharm Isthhaans would be butchered. Now Sikhs can visit these places, but they are still occupied by the Pakistani government and Sikhs still don’t have jurisdiction over these places of worship- something we pray to regain on a daily basis. That’s the equivalent to a non-Muslim government laying claim to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and not giving Muslims the rightful jurisdiction to run it.

The truth is that while Sikh activists in the 50s and 60s gave their lives for language rights of Punjabi, a large majority of Muslim Pakistanis and Hindu Indians in East Punjab and West Punjab pushed for Urdu and Hindi to be their only identifier, not Punjabi.

The truth is that today on both sides of the border Sikh history and the legacy of Sikhs has been erased. In Pakistan, schools gloss over the Sikh Raaj under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and through my research during my undergrad I have seen that Pakistani academics have framed Sikh leaders like Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as uncivilized brutes. In India, our identity is treated as a joke, and we are told that Sikhs aren’t a distinct community of their own, but simply a sect of Hinduism.

The truth is, even to this day, many people amongst Pakistani Punjabis and Indian Hindu Punjabis at their community centers here in Canada rallied their communities not to mark Punjabi as their language, but rather Urdu and Hindi during the last Canadian census.

The truth is that Punjabi is ridiculed on both sides of the border and is seen as inferior. It is seen as a crude language only fit for comedic relief. In West Punjab, Urdu is seen as superior, and despite long standing activist from a minority of Muslim Pakistani Punjabis, little has been done to protect Punjabi. The same is the case with India, where Punjabi is seeing a decline in schools and academia.

Punjabi youth in West Punjab would rather identify themselves with Arab/Persian culture, and Hindu Punjabi youth in East Punjab would much rather identify themselves with the pan-Indian Hindu identity. You have the privilege to do that, we don’t. Our faith and our language are so ingrained in the land and culture of Punjab, a land that has faced erasure and neglect.

We never claimed you are not Punjabi, or stripped you of your Punjabiness, but the truth is that many non-Sikh Punjabis DID strip themselves of their Punjabiness. Your lack of ability to identify with the culture of Punjab is not because we push you away, it’s because you are in a sociopolitical group that has historically moved away from Punjabiyat. If you wish to identify with Punjab, no one is stopping you and no one is saying you have no claim to it.

However, something does need to be said about this knee-jerk reaction against Sikhs. As a minority on both sides of the border, we are vocal, because colonialism and Partition stripped us from everything our community worked for. It left us trauma that cannot be undone- trauma that was inflicted by both Pakistan and India. We aren’t quiet about that, and a loud minority speaking up in a hegemony will sadly always be seen as a nuisance.

I’m not saying Muslims and Hindus didn’t also face trauma. The pain everyone felt during this time is unimaginable. I’m not stopping you from sharing their stories. And yes, there are community narratives that are not often spoken about, such as the case of Christians and Dalits and how those intersections played out.

However, while sharing these narratives, you don’t need to silence Sikhs, or claim that somehow we are committing erasure. The reality is, that we are the ones who have faced erasure for far too many years and we are not about to be silent about that.

askneonflight  asked:

Hey Steph! You've given me LOTS of great advice dealing with Native American ocs, so how about you talk about it some here~?

Hoof! Can try!

But, absolutely, I have to preface this with I am not a First Nations person. I am half Ibero-Hispanic, but this is not a culture I grew up in. I can do all of the research I can to my little heart’s desire, but the fact is that I will never be able to write a 100% authentically indigenous person. I could potentially get close! But that’s not my culture, I don’t belong to a tribe, I’m never going to know all of the ins and outs. But that said, I always try my hardest to respect the culture I am writing my character into, regardless of culture, but especially so for First Nations cultures, which already have a history of being erased, being portrayed inaccurately, and being portrayed offensively. 

But in no order, here’s my tips:

  • Respect. First and foremost, treat these cultures with respect and understanding. Do not separate things into Us and Them, but We. 
  • Understand that your character is not a representative of their entire culture. The burden of representation should not fall on this character’s shoulders. They are not here to serve as a tool of education. They are a person, first and foremost, who was raised within a First Nations culture. They should have their own points of view, opinions, and experiences. As with all cultures, maybe there’s parts of that culture your character agrees with. Maybe there’s parts they disagree with. 
  • Don’t just use wikipedia. Find as many primary resources as possible–resources directly from First Nations people. Find articles written by First Nations peoples, see if the tribe has their own website, their own youtube channel, things like that. Read interviews and articles, go to First Nations periodicals. 
  • Listen. Don’t pay lip service. Empathize and listen to what First Nations peoples have to say. Listen if someone of a tribe says “you’re doing this wrong.” Be ready to change something. 
  • Understand that in researching different tribes, you are going to find a LOT of bogus websites. And some websites that seem legit but are written from a non-indigenous point of view. Indigenous tribes are a favorite for scammers and bullshit healers to steal from and then proclaim as their own. “Native American crystal healing cured my cancer!!!” and things like that.
  • Dreamcatchers are very much a heavily debated idea within many First Nations groups, especially as it has become one of the symbols of the Pan-Indian movement. Learn the history of dreamcatchers, how they have been used, and your character’s thoughts on them. 
  • The same goes for a lot of common portrayals of Native Americans, like long hair and paint and so forth. You’re going to have a rainbow of different opinions–especially over different generations.
  • Don’t write what you don’t know. Really. This is incredibly important here. And understand that there may be things you will never be able to write about. Many tribes have elements that are prohibited to those not belonging to the tribe–even from other Native American tribes. And as an outsider, you will never be able to know about that or learn about it, and that’s just how things are. Respect that. Consider it much like an incredibly special, private family tradition that holds generations of importance for your family.
  • War bonnets are military regalia. Sacred military regalia. Having one is the same as having medals of honor. If you wouldn’t disrespect a soldier’s medals of honor, don’t disrespect the war bonnet.
  • You are going to need to do a LOT of research about reservations, if your character lived in one or has experience around them or people they know who live on the,. Especially there, find first-person experiences about living on them. Get ready for a lot of heart-ache.
  • Just buckle yourself the fuck in because you’re going to have mountains of research. Everywhere. 
  • First Nations people are not a monolithic culture. There is no one “Native American culture.” There are 566 federally recognized tribes in the US alone. Minus federally unrecognized tribes, minus tribes of Canada and Mexico and many other countries. Every single one is unique. 
  • Like I said, buckle the fuck in.
  • Just be ready to get something wrong, no matter how genuine your want is to create an accurate, sincere First Nations character. And sometimes people will get mad at you. Be ready for that, but also be ready to defend yourself–you WILL get non-indigenous peoples asking stupid questions like “why don’t they look more traditional???” and “shouldn’t they be such-and-such and this-and-that.” If you don’t think you can handle that, then don’t write a First Nations character.
  • Have fun? :’D But no really, it can be so much fun to find out these new things about these cultures and their histories, and if you’re big into anthropology, you will have a lot of fun breaking old ideas you had about these cultures and discovering the genuine experiences of First Nations peoples. 

You know what really tickles me is that this movie from Tollywood in a non-English language not only blazed passed the oversaturation by Bollywood films to conquer a pan-Indian market, but it also cracked the top five in the US box office despite playing on only 400 screens less than two months after the spectacular flop of a movie that whitewashed its cast out of a mistaken belief that that would draw in more people. It didn’t have a single white person in it, was steeped in South Indian culture and the two spots above it went to a Latinx romantic comedy and a franchise known for its diverse casts.


SMH about PAN being released and the Tiger Lily caricature being left in. Then to make it worse, practically the definition of ‘whitewash’ is playing Tiger Lily. Was Elizabeth Warren not available?

But maybe they weren’t stereotyping Natives and just like feathers and tribal regalia and other prominent symbols of native culture. Maybe they just like the name Tigerlily!?!1!” Gurl, have a seat with a dictionary opened to ’appropriation’.

Yeah. No. I’m gonna pass.I hope this tanks as hard as Lone Ranger.