Ilka Hartmann Photography

In activism, AIM, alcatraz, American Indian, photography, positive portrayals by Adrienne K.1 Comment

I was pointed to this link via Julia on Twitter (thanks!), and I absolutely love Hartmann’s images. She has a large collection of photos on her site, not just of Natives, but I think her most striking images are the ones of urban Indians and AIM leaders from the 1970’s and early 80’s. I also love that most of the images are from the Bay Area, the place that I called home for the last 6 years–though it does make me a little homesick.

After the jump, more photos and a short video of Hartmann talking about her exhibition in SF which included images from the Alcatraz occupation, AIM events, and the longest walk 1978 (I also included links at the bottom for more information about the history behind the images).

This is the video of Hartmann walking us through her photos, highlighting some of the major events in AIM history that she documented. It’s actually really cool to hear her talk about the images, the context, and her relationships with the subjects, it makes them even more powerful.

More pictures:

Philipp Deere, Medicine Conference,
Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland, CA, 1979

Dance Class
Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland, CA

Baby Boy
Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland, CA

In addition to the urban Indian photos, I was drawn to the images from a sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz before the Longest Walk (more info on that here), because they remind me of the ceremony we attended every year on Alcatraz in honor of Indigenous Peoples Day. It adds a whole new layer of meaning and a stronger feeling of solidarity to the event.

What I like most is that the images offer counter-narratives to many of the commonly held stereotypes about Natives, and give some insight into the often forgotten community of urban Indians, as well as the often overlooked Indian involvement in the civil rights movement. With such simple photographs Hartmann manages to capture so much emotion and history. Her work is very refreshing after the hundreds of negative images and stereotypes we see everyday.  

Definitely go check out her site, and please note that all images I posted are (c) Ilka Hartmann and can be found at:

Ilka Hartmann Photography:

History of the AIM movement:

Alcatraz occupation information:

(Thanks Julia!)

Native Link Roundup

In link roundup by Adrienne K.Leave a Comment

(image via

Students and administrators at Colorado State University will meet today to talk about a Facebook posting that encouraged fans to wear war paint and feathers to a basketball game this Saturday.
CSU sophomore Ben Margolit asked that CSU fans wear the American Indian garb at the men’s home basketball game against the Wyoming Cowboys. His posting sparked comments from detractors who thought it was racist and degrading to American Indians.

Playing in the General Assembly building — what had to be one of the smallest venues of his career — Newton, 67, described hearing stories from his grandfather about his Native American heritage and absorbing his appreciation of the culture. Both of Newton’s parents were half Native American: His father was Patawomeck and his mother was Cherokee. Newton also displayed a picture of his grandfather in full-feathered regalia and passed around a heavy green sash that bore what Newton called a peace medal his ancestors received from Gen. George Washington. 

A state lawmaker who ignited a firestorm of controversy by introducing a bill that would require public high schools to get permission to use American Indian mascots said she will withdraw the legislation.Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, told the Denver Post she has achieved her goal of starting a community discussion over whether the mascots are appropriate.

Hailed over the decades as “The Moses of the Choctaws” and “The Indians’ Lee Iacocca,” Mr. Martin led his tribe into printing and manufacturing of auto parts and electronics at the Mississippi reservation once called “the worst poverty pocket in the poorest state of the Union.”

Efforts to change American Indian mascot names at Oregon high schools have stalled, more than two years after a state advisory group suggested a ban on them. All 15 Oregon high schools with team names such as the Warriors, the Braves or the Indians are still using them.

Look what I found in the bottom of my purse…

In American Indian, arrow, Disney, wilderness lodge by Adrienne K.Leave a Comment

I had forgotten I’d grabbed a stir stick from the bar at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. It had been skewering an orange in my beer in a previous life.  
Previous post: 
Appropriations at Disney World Part 3: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge:

You too can own your very own Tommy Tomahawk!

In American Indian, cherokee, mascots, racism by Adrienne K.1 Comment

 For the low price of $699.99 (It’s on sale!). The description:

This Indian Brave Mascot Costume gives a boost to your school spirit.  Shindigz is your place to find the fiercest and most affordable mascot costumes.

Fierce AND affordable. 

(Thanks Scott!)

The Strange Case of the Hipster Headdress

In "tribal", fashion, headdress, hipsters by Adrienne K.16 Comments

(anyone know the source? I love this!) 
I think the graphic above (which I totally want on a shirt) sums it up well, but am I the only one who is baffled by the hipster headdress phenomenon? I’ve been trying to break it down, thinking back to the hippies of the past–connections to nature, to the mystical, against the mainstream, etc–but those stereotypes just don’t seem to fit with today’s hipster stereotypes. I’m guessing it’s just an iteration of the tribal fashion trends, with a little bit of the desire to be counter culture thrown in there. 

After the jump, several examples from around the internets, and examples of how indie music has hopped on the appropriation train–Juliette Lewis and the Licks and Bat for Lashes are both fans of the hipster headdress. 


(image via

Look at this F***ing Hipster (another entertaining blog) has a slideshow entitled “Someone call the Headdress Police” which is a great compilation of the many iterations of the trend, and does a nice job at pointing out the ridiculousness of it all:

I wish I could embed the slideshow, it’s kinda awesome. 

Hipsterrunoff declared Native American fashion as “big” back in 2008, though doesn’t include any headdress pics. But these pants are really nice:

Which brings us to the music scene. Two years ago Racialicious’s Jessica Yee did a great post examining Juliette Lewis and her band The Licks, and tying it back to Indigenous Feminism. It’s definitely worth a read if you have time. Juliette is fond of the “rock and roll warrior” look, which tends to include a headdress and facepaint:


(images via

 Jessica ties it back to her feminist point of view:

What I find most interesting though about all this imagery, and in particular Lewis’s choice of dress with her band, is actually coming from my raging feminist point of view. In an attempt to appear strong, raw, and unapologetic, people, and in this case, a woman, feels like she has to appropriate Native culture to a pretty extreme extent in order to do a good job of it.

So I guess that goes back to my question about the reasoning behind the hipster appropriations–are hipsters trying to be strong, raw, and unapologetic? I can see the raw and unapologetic, maybe. But are the skinny guys in skinny jeans really going for “strong”?

Juliette and the Licks aren’t the only band, the lead singer of a group (that I had admittedly never heard of) called Bat for Lashes is also big on the headdress:

(images via

Since many of these posts are from 2008, it’s interesting that the hipster headdress and the hipster-Native connection is one that has had a bit of staying power.

Semi-related: are there any self-identified Native hipsters out there? I’d love your thoughts.

UPDATE 4/27/2010: I’ve had a lot to think about since I wrote this post, so here’s a more up-to-date version of my thoughts: But Why Can’t I Wear a Hipster Headdress?

Related posts:

Racialicious Post on Juliette and the Licks:

Retroglo on Bat for Lashes:

Random Appropriation of the Day!

In random appropriation by Adrienne K.2 Comments

via The pink hat is a nice addition. 
(Thanks Desi!)

Random Appropriation of the Day! (Holiday Edition)

In random appropriation by Adrienne K.Leave a Comment

Via (one of my favorite blogs, it finds weird handmade things for sale on In case you can’t read it, the description says:

An original painting on leather with acrylic paint. Tracy Rose Moyers hand-crafted and hand-painted this Native American Shield. A Native American shield is based on the Warrior’s shield. A good shield was believed capable of affording the bearer the protection of the Great Spirit. They frequently bore sacred feathers or symbolic pictures of animals who customarily had appeared to the owner during a vision, which thought to endow him with the qualities of the animals that were depicted.

 …sure, ok. For those of you in warmer climes, just letting you know our dear friend Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Thanks, Phil. So much.

Regretsy Post:

Original Etsy page (you can buy this!):

Random Appropriation of the Day!

In fashion, random appropriation by Adrienne K.2 Comments

“Headdress Bobby Pins” from Description reads:

Dress up those lovely locks with our Headdress Bobby Pins! Choose from a pair of either pewter or brass pins for a cute new look. Features a chieftain coin at the tip of a 2″ long pin. Coin has a .5″ diameter. Comes in a set of two. Man made materials. Imported.

Headdress Bobby Pins:

(Thanks Sees!)

Appropriations at Disney World Part 3: Disney Wilderness Lodge

In "tribal", American Indian, Disney, pacific northwest, plains, totem pole by Adrienne K.2 Comments

yeah, that’s a Navajo rug coke machine. Welcome to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge! The pictures that follow are all from the lobby of the hotel, which describes its decor as:

Taking inspiration from the early 1900s—a time when the spirit of the American pioneer soared—and cues from Native American cultures, the theme of being in harmony with nature winds through Disney’s Wilderness Lodge—inside and out. Authentic decor and genuine artifacts pay homage to ancient Native American cultures and the pioneering spirit of early American explorers

note the use of the words “authentic” and “genuine”. After the jump, a million pictures of “authenticity” at its best. I also recommend a look at their website here.

some gorgeous moccasins in a display case, but with no description or anything to note if they’re Native made, or where or when they’re from.

from farther away–Plains style, eastern woodlands style…all together.

The first of a couple “Native” headdresses, the description on it read “inspired by a 19th century crow headdress.” More like inspired by an ostrich.

This gem sits behind the check-in desk. If you can’t tell from the picture it’s a “peace pipe” with mickey mouse ears.

a line of cradle boards behind the reception desk (again with no descriptions or anything)

I found this juxtaposition nice…the Indian landscape with lincoln logs for the kids to practice being “pioneers”

Lamp at the restaurant

another “inspired by” headdress, this one “19th century Sioux”

apologies for the dark picture, but this is the totem pole that runs from the floor to the ceiling in the lobby

rug on the wall in the gift shop

Buckskin “dress” in the gift shop (it’s actually just one layer, made to look like a dress)

lighting in the gift shop

Tipi lighting in the lobby

drum lighting outside the bathrooms

Disney totem pole outside the gift shop

“inspired by a 19th century crow headdress” I believe the exact words out of my mouth were: “omygod it looks like an effing muppet”

back of the muppet headdress, sorry my camera is bad at low light photos

see? totally the same.
(gotta love the labyrinth)

northwest coast designs on the pool bar

random artifacts thrown in a display case. Monica pointed out that most people would assume the horse hair on the right was a scalp (it’s not).

Wall decoration: “inspired by 19th century sioux winter count”

Fireplace screen…they’re making smoke signals.

Finally, for comparison’s sake, the display case next to the fireplace. Rocks, Natives–same thing, right?

Random Appropriation of the Day!

In random appropriation by Adrienne K.Leave a Comment

Diesel ad (via sociological images). UFO? check. Headdress/Speedo/neon trainers combo? check. Random? you betcha! (click for the full pic)

link to the sociological images article: