This is during their back and forth, notice how the background is all Dali-like and the inclusion of the psychedelic clouds and birds.
This is a close-up of the character (who goes un-named in the movie as well). She has no teeth, a deep, masculine voice, and speaks in broken english.
I’m going to refer back to an email my friend Holly (who is Inupiaq from Anchorage) sent out after the Simpsons Movie came out, talking about the scene in which this character is introduced:
I’m not sure if you have seen it yet, but there is a scene with an Alaska Native woman who looks like a man, and who is highly sexualized by her breasts, yet remains hideous and ogre-like. The scene ultimately makes a mockery out of Alaska Natives, as audience members laugh at her. All the beauty of a culture is gone. Millions of people, who do not know about Alaska Natives are going to see this movie and laugh. There are enough problems with race and misunderstandings of other cultures in America without movies that create stereotypes about cultures that they do not know anything about.
The scene with the Inuit woman starts at 58 min. In which she gives Homer “fire water.” An insulting stereotype emphasized onscreen by the makers of The Simpsons. In the next scene at 1 hr 2 minutes, the Native woman appears in the Northern Lights and her oversized breasts bounce and point in the direction Homer needs to go in order to save Springfield. Considering how many Native women are victims of sexual assault and rape it is an outrage that a movie would further sexualize a group which is additionally humiliated.
Holly sums it up beautifully, and brings to light the many issues at play behind the images in the movie and the episode, and I think this will serve as a good bridge for a discussion this week about the role of Indigenous peoples in Olympic advertising, marketing, and ceremonies of the Vancouver games.
The whole episode is on hulu, if you really want to watch it.
Full episode on hulu: http://www.hulu.com/watch/125173/the-simpsons-boy-meets-curl
Background article on violence against Alaska Native Women in the Anchorage Daily News:
More information on violence against Alaska Native women from Amnesty International:
The mascot in all its manifestations was, the Indian group maintained, stereotypical, offensive, and a mockery of Indian cultures. The group suggested that the “University would be renouncing a grotesque ignorance that it has previously condoned” by removing the Indian as Stanford’s symbol, and by “retracting its misuse of the Indian symbol”
Every few years or so the mascot issue re-emerges on campus, and every time the administration re-affirms the commitment they made in 1972 that:
“any and all Stanford University use of the Indian Symbol should be immediately disavowed and permanently stopped.”
It makes me upset to see any Stanford alum wearing an the mascot–and I saw plenty of them every year at Big Game and homecoming–but I feel worse knowing that Robin is a public figure, and so many people are going to see that picture on Twitter. Jared Dudley has 15,784 followers. I’d feel redeemed if Robin would let Jared post a picture of him wearing one of these shirts, or something similar:
Stanford Mascot History: http://nacc.stanford.edu/mascot.html
Retire Indian Mascots shirt: http://www.demockratees.com/retireindianmascots.html
My friend Kayla pointed me (via her friend Tia’s Facebook) to Heartland Brewery, straight out of hipster-haven Brooklyn, NY, and their beer called “Indian River”. Here is the picture that Tia snapped of their advertisement at a bus stop in Manhattan:
If you can’t read it, it says “accents of orange, no pulp” and “At last, a beer native to manhattan”.
So lets break this down a little: sexualized woman, most likely not Native, wearing very little clothing, and what she is wearing is sterotypical fringed buckskin, sporting “war paint”, a feather, a beer, and a shotgun. Also the bonus of using “native” in the tagline, in case we were unsure of what asthetic they were going for. This takes the cake for rolling about every stereotype ever into one advertisement. In my indignant googling, I found the Heartland Brewery website here.
After the jump, more upsetting labels and some analysis.
It appears they are equal opportunity stereotypers, because they also have labels that are disparaging to women:
(Thanks Kayla and Tia!)
“Twilight” has made all things Quileute wildly popular: Nordstrom.com sells items from Quileute hoodies to charms bearing a supposed Quileute werewolf tattoo. And a tour company hauls busloads of fans onto the Quileute reservation daily. Yet the tribe has received no payment for this commercial activity. Meanwhile, half of Quileute families still live in poverty.
…the outside uses of the Quileute name, from the “Twilight” books to the tattoo jewelry, are quite likely legal. American intellectual property laws, except in very specific circumstances, do not protect indigenous peoples’ collective cultural property.
The Quileute’s Web site tells visitors about the tribal laws that govern Quileute territory. One of these laws specifies that burial grounds and religious ceremonies are “sacred and not to be entered.” Had MSN acknowledged the tribe as a sovereign government, it might not have broken that rule. The Quileute believe that respect for Indian tribal sovereignty could likewise bridge cultural gaps between other Indian communities and outsiders.
I agree with Riley that meeting with Quileute leaders and community members and involving them with the marketing process is an important first step. I see this community as setting the stage for Natives taking control of intellectual property and turning the tables of negative portrayals back into something that can ultimately benefit the community.
The Quileute are a small tribe on a small reservation that have been thrust into the national and international spotlight, and not by choice. However, I hope that with the help of scholars and lawyers like Angela Riley, the tribe can use the publicity to bring light to issues within their own community and perhaps these larger issues of cultural property and representation within Indian Country.
Finally, the piece ends with a quote that I think encapsulates my entire thinking with this blog:
The ultimate choice, regarding not only the Quileute but all indigenous peoples, is not simply whether outsiders are free to appropriate tribal cultural property. For the sake of fairness as much as law, indigenous peoples must play a significant role in decisions regarding their cultural property.
It’s not just about the right to appropriate, it’s about control over portrayals of our people and our communities. Native people deserve a voice at table.
The whole OpEd (read it!): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/opinion/08riley.html
In the past few weeks, many of the South Dakota tribes have been hit incredibly hard with the recent winter storms. Many communities are still without power, and power companies estimate it will be another 4-5 weeks before power is restored. With temperatures dipping well below zero, supplies of food and water on the reservations are desperately needed.
with much of the media attention in recent weeks focusing on the big storms in DC, little has been done to help the growing crisis. According to Cheyenne River officials, all types of emergency supplies are needed:
“The tribe this past weekend opened up an emergency fuel fund,” Conrad said. “And people are going around checking on elderly and families with small children. We are working with Dreams of Eagles, a Native American non-profit in Omaha to get supplies up from Omaha this week. Batteries are needed, candles, non-perishable foods, toilet paper, diapers, infant formula and water. Our reports are that the supplies that are getting to the reservation are dispersed rapidly, and some aren’t able to get any.”
Please consider donating to the Cheyenne River–they have an easy online form that goes directly to the tribe and community. Click here to donate!
Supplies and donations can also be shipped to:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Supplies
PO Box 590 2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
Here is the Indian Country Today article detailing the extent of the emergency in the Dakotas: http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/plains/83646472.html
This past weekend I took a trip to the Boston Museum of Science to see the Harry Potter Exhibition (which was amazing and awesome and anyone who is a fan should go see it…but I digress), and since our tickets got us into the rest of the museum, we wandered around the galleries a bit. I didn’t even have my Cultural Insensitivity Radar (I should trademark that) on, because I figured “science” would be a safe zone, right?
Apparently not. The above image is a diorama on the second floor, not in the context of an exhibit, in fact kind of just stuck in a hallway. It depicts a “Hopi Indian Village,” and is about six inches away from a diorama of an “African Watering Hole”. In addition to the diorama, there was also an interesting display in another part of the about migration and genetics with some eyebrow raising use of graphics and language, and a couple of other small things.
After the jump, more images of the dioramas, as well as the analysis of the migration and genetics display.