Archives For August 2011

This weekend is Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico, a big deal art market that draws thousands of Native artists, art buyers, and visitors to the area. Apparently “Estrella’s Moroccan Spa” thought they would capitalize on the huge influx of folks with money to burn by hosting an “Indian Market Special”–but of course, Indians=a fake chicken feather headdress on a (presumably) non-Native model, right? Especially since here in the Southwest all the tribes wear headdresses and everything. ::eyeroll::

Earlier: But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?

Santa Fe Indian Market Official Webpage

(Thanks Christine!)
(via SF Weekly)
Why isn’t the music-festival-going population sick of this trend yet? Aren’t the hipster-ish ones known for abandoning things once they become “mainstream”?
I will say, however, that this is the only picture I’ve come across in the coverage of the festival so far. Even twitter was remarkably quiet. Of course, if you spot any others, send them over, and if you were there and have stories to the contrary, let me know.
As always:
Earlier (clearly this is nothing new, look at all these posts related to music festivals):

Spotted this guy off University Ave in Palo Alto…anyone know who this is? Or anything about the artist/company?

(This is also my first time using the mobile blogger app, so apologies if anything looks funky)

Alien Appropriations?

August 11, 2011 — 4 Comments

I’ve been a little negative lately, so I wanted to share a quick conversation with my parents and my friend Chris that made me laugh:

Me (to Chris): Have you seen Cowboys and Aliens yet? What did you think?

Chris: It was ok.

Me: There are Indians in it right? Am I going to be offended?

Dad: I, personally, was incredibly offended by the stereotypical portrayals of the aliens. Don’t they know there are hundreds of different Alien groups? and that only a small number of them even look like that? Those images just continue to teach people there is only one way that aliens look.

Chris: He’s right. Not all aliens have goopy hands that come out of their stomachs. How stereotypical.

Mom: And with all the Alien actors out there, why couldn’t they find some real Aliens to play the parts? Why did they have to use all non-Alien actors? That really needs to change.

It was pretty hilarious hearing my broken record about portrayals of Natives in Hollywood being repeated back to me. I take it as a victory that my message has at least gotten through to my parents and close friends…and I realize it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes too. :)

Dear New York Post,

I read your August 5th article entitled “Native American ex-NBC employee suing for harassment”. While I commend you for covering the story, which details the horrific harrassment of a Native American employee of NBC Universal, I couldn’t help but be troubled by one aspect of your coverage. Being a blogger, I copied the url to the story and was ready to write a summary and begin a discussion on micro (and macro) aggressions against Native peoples in the workplace. Then I looked at it a little more closely:

Notice something at the end? 

Clever, NY Post, clever. A convenient homophone for sue is SIOUX. I’m rolling my eyes right now, though I realize you can’t see. In the grand scheme of things this may not seem to be a big deal, and I also realize that it was probably some tech intern who made the url, chuckling to him or herself about the cleverness of it all, not thinking anyone would look closely enough to see it. Well I saw it, and to me it points to EXACTLY what this article was talking about. When Native people are harassed because of their heritage, there’s always an underlying smirk. This man had a doll dressed as a Native American (a very stereotypical one, at that) strung up on a noose in his office. That is completely unacceptable, yet your subtle play on words makes the whole story into a joke. “Har, Har, Har look at this Indian SIOUXing NBC! I wonder if he will take his payment in firewater!”

I can hear you now. “Whoa there. Just calm down, bury the hatchet, smoke the peace pipe, woman! We were just kidding!” I’m sick of Native issues being made into a joke and racism against Native people being condoned and ignored.

Please change the permalink for the article. I don’t find it entertaining, and I’m sure Peter Wells wouldn’t either.



Readers, if you’re interested in more information about the story itself:

NY Post: Native American ex-NBC employee suing for harassment
Native American Journalist Association Response:

Our dear friend Khloe Kardashian is back at her dress up antics. Remember back in October when she tweeted a picture of her wearing a headdress? Well this week she stepped it up a bit and posted a picture from a professional photo shoot with a huge war bonnet. See above.

The accompanying tweet read: “What do you guys think of my tribal look?”

Well Khloe, I think it contributes to the continued stereotyping of Native peoples, relegates us to a “fantasy” or “dress up” character like a wizard or a clown, contributes to the sexualization of Native women, takes something sacred and meaningful and makes it a cheap commodity, and just overall gives me the sads.

If you want the full lowdown: But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?

Funny I should be writing about the Kardashians today, since I just got back from my cousin’s big wedding at the Armenian apostolic church in Pasadena (that’s why the blog went quiet for so long). Yes friends, I’m also Armenian. Apparently there’s a thing with Armenians appropriating Native cultures…remember Cher?

Yeah, she had this song called “Half Breed” back in ’73, and wore a lot of “Indian” style stuff, like huge headdresses, during that time period. I already hear you, commenters, “But she’s Indian! She says she’s Cherokee!” Yes, Cher’s ancestry includes Cherokee. Remember who else is Cherokee? Me. and as a Cherokee-Armenian, I can tell you that Cherokees don’t wear headdresses, breastplates, feathers, and southwest style beading. We wear this:

 That’s a tear dress. Not quite as sexy is it?

Anyway, since you asked, Khloe, I’m not a fan of your “tribal look”. At all. 

Khloe’s photoshoot pics
Khloe’s tweet

Interesting discussion in the comments over at Jezebel over the tweet and pic:

Oh no, Khloe Kardashian
Nudie Neon Indians and the Sexualization of Native Women
But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?