so this was my day
You are portraying a stereotype. You have been taught that all Native Americans look like this, but they don’t. What you are doing is akin to blackface. Also, “how” is not a univeral Native greeting.
And (to put it gently),
“If you are not Native American but are just trying to make a headdress for an art project, we recommend making a beaded headband, since headbands do not have the same sacred meaning of many other Indian headdresses and do not require you to understand complex cultural traditions to create one properly.” Source.
this wasn’t a project haha, and i wasn’t intending on portraying a stereotype, it was just a fancy dress day, and it was just based on what red indians wear from what we’ve seen in fancy dress shops and on tv etc, and i understand that the feathers have spiritual significance, but seeing as that’s the sort they sell in fancy dress shops, thats what we used. i don’t really see how it is ‘akin to blackface’ seeing as we were’t mocking them, and we’re not using any features of how they act or their culture, just their dress sense. and i know ‘how’ isn’t universal, it was just the only one we happened to know, sorry if you were offended, we were just dressing up for a bbq.
First: please stop using the term “red indians” to describe Native Americans. There is no tribe called “Red.” :)
Second: yeah, fancy dress shops etc. buy into the stereotypes because they make money, not necessarily because it’s okay. Same reason why some companies have sweatshops. It’s for sale because people don’t know that dyed chicken feathers and suede fringes are on the other end of the spectrum from Native.
I used the “blackface” comparison because you are not dressing up like a culture. There are hundreds of Native American tribes in the US alone, not counting Canada and even Latin America. They all have different styles of dress, different languages, and different customs. However, the media has meshed together these tribes into a few basic aspects: suede vests and tunics, feather headdresses, dreamcatchers, and war paint. Here and here, you can find examples of why this kind of cultural appropriation is harmful. It’s not your fault that the companies who sell this stuff and the books, TV shows, and magazines all advocate this. Educating yourself is the first step to stopping the madness. Here you can find the faces of real, modern Native Americans, not the old stereotypes.
Funny thing is, I’m not Native. I may have a drop somewhere back in my ancestry, but I am a very, very white American teenager. I am amazed at how beautiful and unique the vast array of Native American art, ways of dress, and culture is. I also know that as a white person, society favors me. (One painful example: Native American women are among the most likely group of women to be raped in America. One in three Native American women have or will be have been raped or experienced attempted rape, while the rate for white women is half that.) So while I admire many aspects of Native American cultures, I have educated myself enough to know when a culture is being exploited.
Please, please educate yourself. It’s important for our generation to know what’s going on, to know when what we’ve been taught isn’t right.
we couldn’t dress up as every tribe in native america! this was all we had access to, it wasn’t supposed to be any serious representation, it was just a fun day out. And we are from england so haven’t really been that aware or educated on the exploitation of native america, i’m sorry if you were offended- it wasn’t an intended racist act or anything, just a last minute fancy dress outfit. and to be fair it was based on films we’ve seen about native america, so this is the only side of native america we’ve seen, i thought this would have been a good representation of native america because we weren’t showing them in a negative light, just appreciation for a part of their patterns and clothes.
You are under no obligation to dress up like every tribe. Even if you did pick one out, it’s not suggested. White people especially are associated with the Native American genocide that occurred here, for one thing. For another, a culture is not a costume, no matter what your intentions. There are aspects of Native American cultures that can be borrowed to add to your personal fashion, like moccassins, mukluks, and jewelry— as long as they are sold by Natives. But what you are appreciating is just a conglomerate of a vague idea of a Native. Kind of like Americans assuming all people from England drink tea, except harmful.
Movies are not obligated to tell the truth. Even a simple google search for “Native American tribes” gives you a much better idea of what a “real” Native might look like.
I know it’s frustrating for me to keep telling you off. I do see you have apologized, but I’m going to be nitpicky here: you apologized for me being offended, which is really not an apology at all.
Please, please do some research. That’s all I ask. Educate yourself with the links I provided earlier. I’m guessing you’re angry and uncomfortable because I’m attacking you. Which sucks. BUT: Native Americans on tumblr will tell you the exact same thing I am telling you now. Listen to the group you were trying to represent. Sometimes good intentions don’t mean you were in the right.
i apologised to you because you’re the one had seen it and appeared offended, i’d apologise to anyone who had seen it, and i have read them, i understand now about the threats they had from white americans etc which i had no idea about before, it wasn’t any sort of attack on their culture, we had no idea about the problems they faced, it just got the costume idea from pocahontas, a lot of fancy dress is based in culture, for example cowboys and victorians etc, it wasn’t meant to be insulting in anyway but i can see why it may cause offence now.