Archives For 1491s

I know things have been quiet around here for a few weeks, and I apologize. I’ve been traveling all over the place talking, and talking, and talking some more. I had great visits to ASU and Columbia, and was supposed to be on an awesome panel with Phil Deloria, Suzan Harjo, and Carla Fredericks in NYC, but it was unfortunately postponed (I’ll keep you posted when we decide on a new date). I also finally got to meet Simon Moya Smith, the man behind I Am Not A Mascot, and we had a great conversation about Native activism in the 21st century, hate mail, identity, and more. It was great to connect with folks and hear so many ideas about the future of this fight and how my blog might fit into that larger movement, and hearing stories and words of encouragement from fellow activists who have been at this longer than me was so inspiring.
So I’m back at my desk in Boston, and ready to tackle some big things. But first, a lot of great Indian videos have crossed my path in the last few days, so I thought I would share some inspiring and entertaining Native videos to start the week off right. 

First up, my good friend H. (won’t call him out in case he’s embarrassed because he’s wearing tons of eyeliner) makes his 1491s debut playing none other than Johnny Depp. So I know it’s been awhile since we’ve chatted about our dear friend Johnny Depp-as-Tonto, but in case you forgot, posts here, here, here, and here. Backstory: Johnny Depp was adopted by LaDonna Harris (Comanche). This is an actual account of what happened at his adoption ceremony:

Next, as some of you know, I work closely with an amazing organization called College Horizons, and a couple of years ago one of our students, Koli, sang this song at our Traditional Night. She’s a Yurok, Karuk, and Hupa student who’s now at UH, and in this song sings about the politics of “looking Indian.” Love it. She also comes from an awesome family, her dad is a Stanford alum and filmmaker, and her sister is a current Stanford student (you know how I love my Stanford connections):

Then, this beautiful and tear-jerking letter to Native Youth is powerful and important (it was inspired by the 1491s/Dallas Goldtooth’s letter to Native women, which I’ve shared here before, and is also worth a watch):

Finally, one of my twitter-follower-friends R. Vincent Moniz tweeted out this fantastic video of a poem about Halloween/Cultural Appropriation/Redface that he performed at a Native poetry night. It’s awesome. I love the Native Approps references sprinkled throughout. :) The poem starts at 6:48 (though his other stuff is good too!):

Ok, a personal plug too. Back in October I was interviewed by a cool Native filmmaker/scholar Myrton RunningWolf for a webseries called “Well Red”. The trailer for the series is here:

and then the teaser trailer for my interview is here (full interview will be up soon!):

Hope these help you get through the remainder of your Monday, and if you’ve got more Native videos we should see, share the links in the comments!

(Thanks H., Koli, Carly, Lyla, Vincent, and Myrt!)

We’ve been dealing with a lot of heavy stuff lately, and since this is my third Valentines Day I’m commemorating on Native Approps, I decided to stay in the positive, love-filled zone, rather than delving into the world of racist vintage valentines or stereotype-filled “Native American Love” art like years past. I’ve given and received a lot of love this year, so I want to send some out to you in the internet world too.

The image above comes from an amazing project by Cherokee artist America Meredith called “Cherokee Spokespeople”. She illustrated a bunch of these cards with Cherokee words and images, and then laminated them and distributed them all over the world. They’re made for bikers to attach to the spokes of their bikes, spreading the Cherokee language wherever they roam. It reminds me of Tibetan prayer flags or wheels–when they are stirred by the wind or water, they spread blessings, good will, and compassion to the surrounding area. I always have pictured these cards as spreading Cherokee language and culture in much the same way. I have a few of the cards from meeting America in the Bay Area, but my adanhdo (“heart”) card is my favorite, and lives on my bookshelf where I see it all the time. My Cherokee culture is definitely something I love, and am grateful for everyday.

Next, I wanted to share a video that Dallas Goldtooth (of the 1491s) made back in 2010, but of course still is relevant today. Always makes me smile (and maybe even tear up a little bit) every time I watch it. Without further ado, here’s his tribute to Native Women:

Of course, our Native men deserve lots of love too–as well as all our LGBTQ Natives who get marginalized in the hetero-normative, cis-normative western narrative of what constitutes “love” on valentines day. So I send some major love your way.

So yeah, Valentines Day may be an over-commericalized, commodified, silly, non-holiday that marginalizes single folks (I’m just saying…), but, I do think it’s a great excuse to share some gratitude and love. Thanks for all the support, readers, friends, and family–the world of Native Appropriations would be nothing without you!

How are you celebrating #NativeLove today? Listening to some awesome round dance songs? Tipi Creepin’? Hanging out with family and friends? Whatever way you choose to share the love today, I wish you all the best.

Adrienne K.     

Happy Wednesday everyone! I have a couple of fun Native videos that have been making the rounds on the internets that I thought I would share.

First up, the latest video from the 1491s–the Native sketch comedy group that brought us the Wolfpack auditions, Day in the Life of a Powwow MC, as well as the gorgeous poem Geronimo E-KIA, and many more–simply entitled “hunting”:

Next, a great satire/parody of cultural appropriation in the fashion world (that is probably a little too true to life in some instances). Filmmaker Daniella Pineda sent it over with this quick back story:

This is a new video I made about a fictitious actress who starts her own “Native American Fashion line.” I live in Brooklyn so like I’m bombarded with drunk white hipster girls dancing around with headdresses. Also this past summer urban outfitters and top shop were pushing this hard. So I made this video.

“…or a happy trail of tears!” haha. Love it.


youtube links:
“Hunting”: a Short Film by the 1491′s
DW Diaz’s new fashion line: Genocide Chic

(Thanks Ryan and Daniella!)

Everyone knows the photographs of Edward S. Curtis–they are the “iconic” Indian pictures you see in coffee table books, on postcards, even on wall hangings at Ikea. They’re the images people most often associate with Natives: Indians on horses, Indians in headdresses, Indians riding off into the sunset never to be seen again…

At the time he was working, Curtis was convinced that the Native population was about to disappear forever, so he took it upon himself to photograph as much of this “vanishing race” as he could. He amassed an amazing body of work, but he definitely had an idea of what he thought “real” Indians looked like.

Edward Curtis is a bit of a running joke in my family, since both my sister and I focused our senior theses on his photographs. I argued that his images created a false authenticity from which contemporary Indian artists struggle to break free. It came to light later that he was a fan of doctoring images (erasing signs of “modernity”), providing costumes for his subjects, and trying to make Native peoples fit his notion of Indianess. My sister talked about those issues too, but also looked at how contemporary Natives are using the images as a way to have a tangible connection to family and ancestors, and how Native artists are beginning to reclaim the images and use them as a starting point to re-imagine Native photography.

The common theme throughout Edward Curtis’s portraits is stocism. None of his subjects smile. Ever. Check out this gallery or this gallery if you don’t believe me. To anyone who has spent anytime with Indians, you know that the “stoic Indian” stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth. Natives joke, tease, and laugh more than anyone I know–I often leave Native events with my sides hurting from laughing so much.

So in response to the sad-stoic-angry Indian images of Edward Curtis, we’ve got this awesome video by Sterlin Harjo (the man behind Four Sheets to the Wind and Barking Water) and Ryan RedCorn (the man behind Demockratees and Buffalo Nickel Creative). Simple but powerful, and showcases the diversity of Indian Country too!

I always love Native art/film/poetry/writing/anything that subverts popular narratives about Indians and calls into question all the stereotypes and preconceived notions the public holds about Native peoples, so this is right up my alley. It’s also adorable. And sports cameos by a few of my friends.

The video was produced by the 1491′s, and I highly recommend checking out their youtube channel for some awesome ndn humor. If you haven’t seen the Wolfpack audition video, you haven’t lived. 
(Thanks Sterlin and Ryan!)