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Old 11-25-2012, 01:05 AM   #1
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Opinion on Cnn.com - Just say no to "playing Indian"

http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/...ian/?hpt=hp_c3

Editorial written by Native Journalist Jenni Monet on CNN.com
Jenni Monet is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who writes and makes films about Native and indigenous issues. She is a frequent contributor to Indian Country Today Media Network and a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna. She tweets @Jennimonet.



By Jenni Monet, Special to CNN

(CNN) – As another Native American Heritage Month comes to an end, I have to stop and ask, did anybody other than Native folks even know it was taking place?

Since 1990, the federal government has declared the month of November a time to pay tribute to the achievements of the nation’s estimated 2.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (PDF).

The national observance is not unlike America’s commitment to African-American history month or Hispanic heritage month, a time of year that major brands have come to commercialize in recent years.

Thanksgiving is some Native Americans' 'Day of Mourning'

But little recognition has been paid to the original inhabitants who represent 1% of the U.S. population. Instead, this November, there has been a series of cultural gaffes made by celebrities, journalists and large companies during a time set aside to acknowledge and honor Native people.

It began with the release of "Looking Hot," the comeback video for rock band No Doubt. The Wild West-themed production featured lead singer Gwen Stefani dressed in Native American-style clothing and taking part in fictitious Native rituals.

After social media outcry from the Native American community, No Doubt posted an apology on its website and agreed to pull the video one day after its release. “As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures,” the group's statement read. “Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American People, their culture or their history.”

But damage had already been done. The Daily Mail Online, a UK-based publication, labeled Stefani’s character as a Native American “squaw.” The Algonquin word today is frequently considered offensive to Native women, from condescending images to explicit racial epithets similar in tone to other ethnic monikers such as “Negress” or “Jewess.” Had the Mail’s journalist referenced even the most elementary source, the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it may have avoided making a remark degrading to indigenous women.

Meanwhile, in coverage of the band’s misstep, the Los Angeles Times hosted a poll on its website. “Were you offended by the ‘Looking Hot’ video?” it asked, to which an overwhelming 65% of readers responded "no."

The Huffington Post raised a similar question in the aftermath of Victoria’s Secret’s headdress faux pas: the runway disaster featuring supermodel Karlie Kloss scantily clad in a Native American-style headdress and chunky turquoise jewelry. In its online poll, nearly half of its readers felt “people shouldn’t be so sensitive” to these kinds of cultural flareups. On November 10, Victoria's Secret apologized and said it will remove Kloss’ controversial look from the upcoming television special.

Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters for alleged trademark infringement

While statistics like these are far from scientific, I can’t say that the results are all that startling. The reality is, Native Americans have long suffered a public relations problem in a society that would rather regard today’s Indians as relics of the past.

With few Native American staff in newsrooms, it’s little wonder why the media reaction from the Stefani and Kloss incidents resulted in questioning the integrity of cultural appropriation rather than honoring Native people.

In addition, what lies at the core of these sexually charged fetishizations of Native women is an ongoing fight to protect the safety of Native women. According to congressional findings of the 2010 Tribal Law & Order Act (PDF), 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped; 39% will be subjected to domestic violence. That is more than twice the national average. In addition, the 2008 study by the National Institute of Justice (PDF) suggests that on some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than 10 times the rate of their non-native counterparts.

In the past year, Native advocacy leaders have made a push to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in Congress. The law would empower tribes for the first time to seek justice against non-Indian offenders.

Where Native voices are being heard is on the message boards of Facebook and Twitter. American Indian activists and scholars are some of today’s authors behind a budding collection of blogs shining a light on these issues and others that matter most to the Native community But so far, it seems the only people paying attention are Native peoples.

Despite all the uproar from the Native community that occurred in the aftermath of the No Doubt and Victoria’s Secret incidents, the restaurant chain Hooters was the latest to issue a mea culpa on November 15 after hosting a “Cowboys and Indians”-themed dress-up day for its staff at one of its Indian franchises. “We admire and honor Native American culture and history and never intended to offend,” read the statement from Hooters Corporate.

Thanks for the apologies, Hooters, Victoria’s Secret and Gwen Stefani, but next year, can you please acknowledge Native American Heritage Month and just say no to "playing Indian"?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jenni Monet.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:54 AM   #2
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well jen there will alway's be some joker out there who will try play indian not knowing of the harm it play's . as for me i know i indian and i was happy that me and many others have a month to be seen and req nized as such. but i do have 1 quistion why is the slure's and bad actions still continue at my kind for being who we are and what we are for?
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:47 AM   #3
3 down and 1 to go! lol
 
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for a minute there, I thought native american month was February....GAH...
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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The military has this Native American Heritage month in November. I have seen some static displays that were crappy. The stuff on display were dreamcatchers, fake warbonnets, toy drums, toy buffalo's, etc. None of them were about a specific tribe, or person, or event. But the Commanding Officer of the base would go to the HQ area and judge how, "Native" the display was and then whoever won got a 1st place ribbon and there name in the base paper along with a photo of the display.

I did a presentation once in Hawaii. The only time I did participate in a Native American Heritage Month. I got a "attaboy" and that was it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:55 AM   #5
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I actually finished writing something similar in my own blog.

http://rantsofrandy.blogspot.com/201...nd-idiots.html

Admittedly, she put it better than I ever could have.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:20 AM   #6
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Ours is a culture with some very definite conflictions.

I watch allot of movies. Especially westerns. I like how Hollywood thinks they know how we natives are supposed to be and all. I don't know whether to get angry at all the misguided history portrayed. Or laugh at the really ridiculous mistakes made by these people. Many of whom really haven't a clue what the hell they are talking about. When Kevin Costner decided to do Dances With Wolves, he took a great risk. In fact a financial personal risk as I understand it. Yet, accuracy was near the top of his list and thus he employed real NA's of various tribes and nations to portray the Sioux in his movie. He even had a language coach ( I believe her name was Doris Leader Charge ) come in and coach everyone in the original dialect of the Sioux tribes. It was difficult. Especially for the NA actors who never spoke NA ever in their lives. Yet, the need for some reasonable degree of accuracy was necessary in order for the audience to feel as though they really were watching Sioux tribal members conversing with each other. DWW was the first ever movie to employ so many NA actors and set it up with some historically accurate ideas. Of course the movie is fictitious, but the acting was incredible. Anyway, my point is that NA 's have been portrayed poorly over the years in Hollywood and in history. Every now and then, someone gets it pretty close to being right. I thought Costner's DWW was exceptional work. There have been others. Like "One Good Indian" with Wes Studi. Or "Last of the Mohicans". Again, with Wes Studi and Daniel Day Lewis. Every now and then people not within our culture do get it pretty close to being right and thus portray our culture in a way which people from other cultures can at least get some idea. Obviously, some fall flat on their faces to. The picture above in the opening OP is a good example of how many cultures disrespect the NA culture and abuse many of those things which are indeed sacred to us. Unfortunately, we have to deal with that. All we can do is counter it with truth and historically correct history as told by our ancestors. Making a mockery of ones culture is a shame.........


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Old 01-14-2013, 08:27 AM   #7
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Something needs to be dun about the playing Indian deal .to be honost don't realy feel that there ever will be
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:53 PM   #8
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i dont like it either....but say we DO succeed in making it stop......how much of a difference would it make in our lives?
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by milehighsalute View Post
i dont like it either....but say we DO succeed in making it stop......how much of a difference would it make in our lives?

Next to none.

So our efforts are best spent in improving us, not in trying to control the behavior of other people.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:23 AM   #10
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Agree zeke

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
Next to none.

So our efforts are best spent in improving us, not in trying to control the behavior of other people.
Improve our selves .we have fellow native brothers and sister's of another mother live'ing in the street and some are starve'ing as well . If it all right lets step up try dealing with that
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke View Post
Next to none.

So our efforts are best spent in improving us, not in trying to control the behavior of other people.
BINGO....thats why i never fell into that AIM crap....imagine if they spent all that money from lawyers, airfare, red paint, bail from all the times they stopped parades, protested mascots or poured paint on statues then got themselves out of jail on BOOKS and and used some of that money to HIRE indian teens/college kids to TUTOR the younger ones.....i will take a quote directly from my mom....former director of DPS Indian Education...."indian kids dont need a leader, they need an EDUCATION"

call us "apple" "hang around the fort" "uncle tomahawk" all you want......but the truth of the matter is if you're gonna protest something you should learn how to spell it first (take note wounded bear)......

people who "disrespect" us wont change.....better off fighting twinkies when they show up...the ones who are "honoring" us for the price of a few bucks.........at least you are saving someone from getting ripped off and setting record straight about "our ways"........but fighting blatant disrespect from entities who dont care whose target audience really dont care wont make a bit of difference.......but only do this if you have spare time on your hands you dont mind wasting.....my suggestion is find a way to pay your rent first
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:12 PM   #12
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1. Strong words.
2. I agree with you.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milehighsalute View Post
call us "apple" "hang around the fort" "uncle tomahawk" all you want......but the truth of the matter is if you're gonna protest something you should learn how to spell it first (take note wounded bear
"Uncle Tomahawk" I like that. All this time I had been saying "Uncle Tonto"
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by milehighsalute View Post
people who "disrespect" us wont change.....better off fighting twinkies when they show up...the ones who are "honoring" us for the price of a few bucks.........at least you are saving someone from getting ripped off and setting record straight about "our ways"........but fighting blatant disrespect from entities who dont care whose target audience really dont care wont make a bit of difference.......but only do this if you have spare time on your hands you dont mind wasting.....my suggestion is find a way to pay your rent first
Who are the twinkies?

Asian brother from another mother.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:12 PM   #15
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I d I do I pay my rent

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BINGO....thats why i never fell into that AIM crap....imagine if they spent all that money from lawyers, airfare, red paint, bail from all the times they stopped parades, protested mascots or poured paint on statues then got themselves out of jail on BOOKS and and used some of that money to HIRE indian teens/college kids to TUTOR the younger ones.....i will take a quote directly from my mom....former director of DPS Indian Education...."indian kids dont need a leader, they need an EDUCATION"

call us "apple" "hang around the fort" "uncle tomahawk" all you want......but the truth of the matter is if you're gonna protest something you should learn how to spell it first (take note wounded bear)......

people who "disrespect" us wont change.....better off fighting twinkies when they show up...the ones who are "honoring" us for the price of a few bucks.........at least you are saving someone from getting ripped off and setting record straight about "our ways"........but fighting blatant disrespect from entities who dont care whose target audience really dont care wont make a bit of difference.......but only do this if you have spare time on your hands you dont mind wasting.....my suggestion is find a way to pay your rent first
I use what ever I got left helping my fellow native brothers & sisters of another mother out who real want are kind around a u. S. gov fort looking for hand out's
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:42 PM   #16
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holy ****.....a two point lecture of zeke AGREEING with me lol
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:53 PM   #17
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Well stop the wrong doing but hay lets keep in mind of try to save are own kind we are all we have the Europeans ain't gonna do much other than screw us more
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:25 AM   #18
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What's even more odd are those NDNs 'playing white'
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:43 AM   #19
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What's even more odd are those NDNs 'playing white'
Oh, this you MUST expand on!
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #20
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Oh, this you MUST expand on!
I must expand on what I wish. Do you understand that, Zeke?
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