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Josiah 10-29-2014 03:43 PM

When Cultural Expression Becomes Inappropriate: Native Halloween Costumes
 
My Good Friend was interviewed for this Article
Great time to post this as Halloween is around the corner!!
When Cultural Expression Becomes Inappropriate: Native Halloween Costumes | KGOU


The idea of “cultural appropriation” and the use of Native American attire made headlines earlier this year after Gov. Mary Fallin’s daughter Christina posted a photo of herself wearing a Native headdress on Instagram. But if you explore any Halloween costume shop this October and there is a good chance you will find Native American costumes, many featuring a feathered headdress.

But this year, some costume manufacturers are experiencing pushback from people that believe the costumes are culturally insensitive.


Sahand Fard, general manager of the Los Angeles-based Roma Costume, a company that designs and distributes American-made outfits, has noticed some complaints.

“Yeah, people have been calling in,” Fard said. “We have segments on TV shows and the TV shows are okay we have these costumes but they are saying ‘Don’t bring the headdress to the segment because it might come offensive a little bit,’."

Fard says they start designing and manufacturing their costumes over a year in advance and sometimes don’t foresee upcoming trends and movements, like the backlash against Washington, D.C.’s NFL franchise and other sports teams that have historically used Native American mascots.

Some Norman residents believe that it is about time costume companies were pressured to stop producing Native American themed costumes, specifically ones that include the feathered headdress, called a war bonnet.

Warren Queton is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and a U.S. military veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The reason I chose to sacrifice and be a part of the military was that I wanted to fulfill an obligation to my tribe and that was to be a warrior, to protect people,” Queton said. “We no longer have warrior societies that we had in the seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth century but we have the United States military."

Warren says the war bonnet has a long tradition in Kiowa society, but not as a conventional garment.

“It was a trophy and it was captured in a battle probably from a neighboring tribe that used war bonnets in their regalia,” Queton said. “They display the war bonnet as a trophy of a battle than occurred. So it symbolizes a veteran’s deed in battle."

While Queton is concerned about costumes featuring the war bonnet, Fard insists no disrespect intended.

"As we know the definition of a costume is like we’re just trying to be another character,” Fard said. “Either the person is trying to respect the other culture to making fun of the culture. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re trying to make fun of this character or this culture or whatever it may be the costume."

Native American groups insist that regardless of what the intent is, the final product is hurtful.

The heart of the debate is where the line is drawn between cultural appreciation, and cultural appropriation. Cross-cultural sharing like popular turquoise jewelry and Indian tacos happens every day, and is accepted and often celebrated as what makes America special. Queton believes that the difference is in context and the amount of care that is put into getting the details just right.

"Every tribe has a way that they dress and it’s a big part of their cultural identity,” Queton said. “People from other tribes can tell what tribe you are by the way you dress. People invest a lot of money into making their Indian clothes – making it look a certain kind of way wear certain designs whether its beadwork or cloth-ribbon work. We still have a culture that’s very alive and it exists in our Native communities. And we still wear our Indian clothes and we wear our war bonnets, we wear our headdresses, we dance our dances, we sing our songs, but it’s all done with great ceremony."

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White Powwow Dancer 10-29-2014 05:24 PM

A friend of mine just found a kid's grass dancer outfit at savers in the Halloween section of the store.

wardancer 10-29-2014 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by White Powwow Dancer (Post 1610894)
A friend of mine just found a kid's grass dancer outfit at savers in the Halloween section of the store.

Could you go by there and see if they have a tradish outfit ? I need a new outfit ! :laughing:

White Powwow Dancer 10-29-2014 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wardancer (Post 1610895)
Could you go by there and see if they have a tradish outfit ? I need a new outfit ! :laughing:

A lot Ojibwe idems you need?:wink_smil:wink_smil

LISA IRONMAKER 10-30-2014 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wardancer (Post 1610895)
Could you go by there and see if they have a tradish outfit ? I need a new outfit ! :laughing:

OMG....your a nut!!

:lol::laughing:

TeenaBear 11-02-2014 04:40 AM

What about those little girls who want to be a Disney Princess and admire Disney's Indian Princess, Pocahontas? People just need to chill. I mean, I've seen costumes of people dressing as old Asian folk and think it's hilarious... *shrug*

Josiah 11-02-2014 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611121)
What about those little girls who want to be a Disney Princess and admire Disney's Indian Princess, Pocahontas? People just need to chill. I mean, I've seen costumes of people dressing as old Asian folk and think it's hilarious... *shrug*

Pocahontas the Disney version?
Pocahontas the Indian Maiden?
Or Pocahontas that visited England as daughter of a Head of state dressed to the nines??
What version do you suppose I find in a costume store??

TeenaBear 11-03-2014 05:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Josiah (Post 1611132)
Pocahontas the Disney version?
Pocahontas the Indian Maiden?
Or Pocahontas that visited England as daughter of a Head of state dressed to the nines??
What version do you suppose I find in a costume store??


Little girls who watch Disney will typically know about the Disney version of Pocahontas... you know... the one who fell in love with John Smith, talked to a tree, and had a pet raccoon...?

Josiah 11-04-2014 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611164)
Little girls who watch Disney will typically know about the Disney version of Pocahontas... you know... the one who fell in love with John Smith, talked to a tree, and had a pet raccoon...?

Funny thing about that, Historically she was about 11 when they met
once...
So if Disney changes it up
its ok?
And now she is a made up character, saves a soldier who is invading her homeland and is friends with the forest and animals
Myth Myth and Myth
Yeah that can't hurt young Ndn girls looking for Historical Role Models...
I don't have a problem with Make believe Characters I grew up with them also!
Sad thing is, if I met one I have met a Thousand Pocahontas Descendants!
Funny about this, her tribe has changed to Cherokee by those that know nothing of her people that have faded into the myths of time. And that is the POWER of Disney.
Disney writers based their version on the accounts of John Smith written some 40 years after he left the New World and somewhat Embellished... LoL
And that is how History is written then Rewritten

1DancingBear 11-09-2014 03:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611121)
What about those little girls who want to be a Disney Princess and admire Disney's Indian Princess, Pocahontas? People just need to chill. I mean, I've seen costumes of people dressing as old Asian folk and think it's hilarious... *shrug*

The Anti-Pocahotties movement really took a firm stance this year. Just imagine the public outrage if Black-face came back! Poking fun a a culture is never appropriate.

TeenaBear 11-10-2014 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1DancingBear (Post 1611457)
The Anti-Pocahotties movement really took a firm stance this year. Just imagine the public outrage if Black-face came back! Poking fun a a culture is never appropriate.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1DancingBear (Post 1611457)
The Anti-Pocahotties movement really took a firm stance this year. Just imagine the public outrage if Black-face came back! Poking fun a a culture is never appropriate.

I'm pretty sure that a little girl idolizing a Disney Princess and wanting to be her for a day is different than a white man painting his face like a black man so that he can be paid for an acting role rather than a black man being paid for an acting role.

I think "Black-face" and "Disney Pocahontas Costumes" fall in two totally separate categories. That's just my opinion though.

OLChemist 11-10-2014 06:15 AM

@TeenaBear, let's step aside from the cultural appropriation issues for a moment and let's just look at the sexual message within these "Pocahottie" costumes, of which these children's costumes are often a subset.

Do you know as a Native young woman part of your "birthright" is a 34% probability of experiencing sexual violence in your lifetime? This is 2.5 times the rate for white women. There is an estimated 86% likelihood the perpetrator with be non-Native. This is more than twice the rate for white women and more than 4 times the rate for black women.

What does this have to do with a faux buckskin costume, with it's mini-skirt slit to the hip? Part of that endeavor called Manifest Destiny was justifying to the dominant culture actions that ran counter to their deep, albeit patriarchal, religious and ethical roots. Part of this propaganda blitz was the degradation of our women, moving them even closer to animal status by depicting them as vicious, drudges that were sexually loose and available to all comers.

This empowered the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonial power. Raping an Indian woman didn't involve crossing the same moral line, since "our men treated us worse" and "Indian women are like that." Once we were reduced to military and political powerlessness, our women (and children) became an all you can eat, free buffet for sexual predators. And because of deeply ingrained stereotypes about Indians women's sexuality and Native substance abuse, authorities were and are often reluctant to expend the energy necessary to navigate the jurisdictional minefield of post-exparte Crow Dog Indian country, leaving us without even the protections offered by the dominant culture.

(Putting aside the disturbing and disgusting sexualization of children.) Wearing one of these outfits that conforms to dominant culture ideas of our women's dress, gender roles, and sexual availability just reenforces the stereotypes. It is a tiny step in the chain that leads to the ER, the rape crisis center, the homeless shelter, so on. For us as Native women to choose to ignore the objectification and distortion of our traditional roles is to bow to the colonizer's yoke.

Josiah 11-10-2014 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OLChemist (Post 1611535)
@TeenaBear, let's step aside from the cultural appropriation issues for a moment and let's just look at the sexual message within these "Pocahottie" costumes, of which these children's costumes are often a subset.

Do you know as a Native young woman part of your "birthright" is a 34% probability of experiencing sexual violence in your lifetime? This is 2.5 times the rate for white women. There is an estimated 86% likelihood the perpetrator with be non-Native. This is more than twice the rate for white women and more than 4 times the rate for black women.

What does this have to do with a faux buckskin costume, with it's mini-skirt slit to the hip? Part of that endeavor called Manifest Destiny was justifying to the dominant culture actions that ran counter to their deep, albeit patriarchal, religious and ethical roots. Part of this propaganda blitz was the degradation of our women, moving them even closer to animal status by depicting them as vicious, drudges that were sexually loose and available to all comers.

This empowered the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonial power. Raping an Indian woman didn't involve crossing the same moral line, since "our men treated us worse" and "Indian women are like that." Once we were reduced to military and political powerlessness, our women (and children) became an all you can eat, free buffet for sexual predators. And because of deeply ingrained stereotypes about Indians women's sexuality and Native substance abuse, authorities were and are often reluctant to expend the energy necessary to navigate the jurisdictional minefield of post-exparte Crow Dog Indian country, leaving us without even the protections offered by the dominant culture.

(Putting aside the disturbing and disgusting sexualization of children.) Wearing one of these outfits that conforms to dominant culture ideas of our women's dress, gender roles, and sexual availability just reenforces the stereotypes. It is a tiny step in the chain that leads to the ER, the rape crisis center, the homeless shelter, so on. For us as Native women to choose to ignore the objectification and distortion of our traditional roles is to bow to the colonizer's yoke.

Boom!! As always a clear cognitive reply that addresses the whole issue!!

Joe's Dad 11-10-2014 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OLChemist (Post 1611535)
@TeenaBear, let's step aside from the cultural appropriation issues for a moment and let's just look at the sexual message within these "Pocahottie" costumes, of which these children's costumes are often a subset.

Do you know as a Native young woman part of your "birthright" is a 34% probability of experiencing sexual violence in your lifetime? This is 2.5 times the rate for white women. There is an estimated 86% likelihood the perpetrator with be non-Native. This is more than twice the rate for white women and more than 4 times the rate for black women.

What does this have to do with a faux buckskin costume, with it's mini-skirt slit to the hip? Part of that endeavor called Manifest Destiny was justifying to the dominant culture actions that ran counter to their deep, albeit patriarchal, religious and ethical roots. Part of this propaganda blitz was the degradation of our women, moving them even closer to animal status by depicting them as vicious, drudges that were sexually loose and available to all comers.

This empowered the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonial power. Raping an Indian woman didn't involve crossing the same moral line, since "our men treated us worse" and "Indian women are like that." Once we were reduced to military and political powerlessness, our women (and children) became an all you can eat, free buffet for sexual predators. And because of deeply ingrained stereotypes about Indians women's sexuality and Native substance abuse, authorities were and are often reluctant to expend the energy necessary to navigate the jurisdictional minefield of post-exparte Crow Dog Indian country, leaving us without even the protections offered by the dominant culture.

(Putting aside the disturbing and disgusting sexualization of children.) Wearing one of these outfits that conforms to dominant culture ideas of our women's dress, gender roles, and sexual availability just reenforces the stereotypes. It is a tiny step in the chain that leads to the ER, the rape crisis center, the homeless shelter, so on. For us as Native women to choose to ignore the objectification and distortion of our traditional roles is to bow to the colonizer's yoke.

Good post. Is there any other Disney Princess character dressed in a short dress or are all others in long sequined gowns?

Josiah 11-10-2014 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe's Dad (Post 1611539)
Good post. Is there any other Disney Princess character dressed in a short dress or are all others in long sequined gowns?

Long Gowns with a Tiara or crown to denote they are special and not to be trifle with.

Pocahontas outfits always has bare shoulder,knee length and simple in design easily torn off...
I have a problem with dressing Young girls in clothes (Any Clothes) that bring out there sexuality! let them be girls not sexy creatures for Pedophile fantasies!!

wardancer 11-10-2014 10:33 AM

Dang , I didn't even get a chance to get up on my "high horse" ! :rofl:

OLChemist 11-10-2014 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Josiah (Post 1611540)
I have a problem with dressing Young girls in clothes (Any Clothes) that bring out there sexuality! let them be girls not sexy creatures for Pedophile fantasies!!


You tell 'em.

I had one mother bring her child to my door to trick or treat. The girl was maybe seven and was dressed in a little police girl outfit with a mini-skirt, bare midriff and handcuffs. I stood there remembering the two postcards I've received in the past year from the state of Texas, notifying me that a registered sex offender (both with minors) had moved into my neighborhood. I wanted to shake this barely adult herself mom, and ask her what the hello she thought she was doing parading her daughter around in front of anyone in an outfit that screamed "let's play bondage!" Instead, I gave the child a KitKat. I hope I don't look in the police blotter in the paper and regret keeping my mouth shut.

The desire to procreate is an intensely powerful biological urge. Our ancestors -- Native and non-Native -- had an enormous respect for this power. Most cultures protected children by keeping childhood free of adult sexuality. But for some reason we have chosen to breach that innocence.

TeenaBear 11-10-2014 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OLChemist (Post 1611535)
@TeenaBear, let's step aside from the cultural appropriation issues for a moment and let's just look at the sexual message within these "Pocahottie" costumes, of which these children's costumes are often a subset.

(Putting aside the disturbing and disgusting sexualization of children.) Wearing one of these outfits that conforms to dominant culture ideas of our women's dress, gender roles, and sexual availability just reenforces the stereotypes. It is a tiny step in the chain that leads to the ER, the rape crisis center, the homeless shelter, so on. For us as Native women to choose to ignore the objectification and distortion of our traditional roles is to bow to the colonizer's yoke.

I see your logic, however, if you feel that strongly about costumes in general and the cultural aspects of holidays, then I would hope that you too are not conforming to "the American way" and celebrating such a holiday that strays away from our traditional values...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe's Dad (Post 1611539)
Good post. Is there any other Disney Princess character dressed in a short dress or are all others in long sequined gowns?

I can name a few. Let's start with Princess Jazmine and Princess Ariel. As a mother, if my daughter wanted to dress up as them, that would be fine, however, I would be sure that she wore something underneath to make it more modest.

Quote:

Originally Posted by wardancer (Post 1611543)
Dang , I didn't even get a chance to get up on my "high horse" ! :rofl:


Joe's Dad 11-10-2014 03:00 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611564)

I can name a few. Let's start with Princess Jazmine and Princess Ariel. As a mother, if my daughter wanted to dress up as them, that would be fine, however, I would be sure that she wore something underneath to make it more modest.

So you would dress up your daughter like this if the costume were available?

gilisi 11-11-2014 12:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wardancer (Post 1611543)
Dang , I didn't even get a chance to get up on my "high horse" ! :rofl:

Get up on der!!! LOL

OLChemist 11-11-2014 03:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611564)
Let's start with Princess Jazmine and Princess Ariel.

Hmmm, a mermaid and another non-white woman. The white (and African-American)girls, as Josiah pointed out, are dressed in a less hyper-sexualized manner and set on a high status, safe shelf.

Quote:

Originally Posted by TeenaBear (Post 1611564)
I see your logic, however, if you feel that strongly about costumes in general and the cultural aspects of holidays...

I appreciate that you saw the logic, I just wish you had gotten the gist of my argument. I don't care about Halloween or costumes per say. I don't really care if you dress your kids as pirates (a career), pumpkins or unicorns. The point I was trying to make is that we need to examine the historical matrix and consequences of the image packaged within these outfits.

Is there a connection between the dominant culture Pocahottie complex and the over 600 murdered or missing Native women in Canada or the stunning rates of non-Indian sexual violence against Native women in the US? I find it hard to compare the visual depictions Snow White, Bella or Merida with Pocahontas and not see the legacy of the dehumanization process by which a colonizing power/spirit desensitizes its own people, so that they can betray their own moral code. Pocahottie is not the cause of this violence, but a illustration of the dehumanizing prejudices and stereotypes that have become imbedded in post-colonial dominant culture and cause ongoing damage to us.


It is tempting to dismiss the less virulent manifestations of this stereotyping process like the Disney Pocahontas as harmless. Or the see the complex of imagery as so divorced from our own conceptions of womanhood as to be totally irrelevant. Or to be so glad that some reference to Native woman exists within pop-culture that we ignore the distortions. But then some little non-Indian girl grows up to be a voter that can't connect modern, real Indian people to the romanticized tree-singing Princess. The non-Native boy grows up steeped in the darker hyper-sexualized imagery of this imagined Indian womanhood and one night, while under the influence, fulfills his fantasies with a Native girl he found hitchhiking.


Now lest I be accused of pomposity and idling away my percap (I wish) on the internet, I'm just a child who thought too much about how good, God-fearing people, with lofty ideals, on both sides could be heirs to the blood soaked history, that they turned into my bed-time tales, who grow up to be a pattern-seeking scientist and artist. I like a good debate. Now, present your contrary viewpoint and persuade me. In the interest avoiding negativity and keeping the site PG, should you feel the urge to insult or defame me, please do so without resorting coded profanity :) (I especially like insults that require I look things up in the dictionary, LOL. )

wardancer 11-11-2014 11:37 AM

OC , you could give her the eye dee ten tee test ! :laughing:

TeenaBear 11-12-2014 12:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe's Dad (Post 1611566)
So you would dress up your daughter like this if the costume were available?

Here are a couple more appropriate options :)

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/i...26IEmPH4xTZwzA

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/i...msfpPRUgEDHZaH

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/23...5010d30576.jpg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...RL._UX385_.jpg

TeenaBear 11-12-2014 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OLChemist (Post 1611626)
Hmmm, a mermaid and another non-white woman. The white (and African-American)girls, as Josiah pointed out, are dressed in a less hyper-sexualized manner and set on a high status, safe shelf.



I appreciate that you saw the logic, I just wish you had gotten the gist of my argument. I don't care about Halloween or costumes per say. I don't really care if you dress your kids as pirates (a career), pumpkins or unicorns. The point I was trying to make is that we need to examine the historical matrix and consequences of the image packaged within these outfits.

Is there a connection between the dominant culture Pocahottie complex and the over 600 murdered or missing Native women in Canada or the stunning rates of non-Indian sexual violence against Native women in the US? I find it hard to compare the visual depictions Snow White, Bella or Merida with Pocahontas and not see the legacy of the dehumanization process by which a colonizing power/spirit desensitizes its own people, so that they can betray their own moral code. Pocahottie is not the cause of this violence, but a illustration of the dehumanizing prejudices and stereotypes that have become imbedded in post-colonial dominant culture and cause ongoing damage to us.


It is tempting to dismiss the less virulent manifestations of this stereotyping process like the Disney Pocahontas as harmless. Or the see the complex of imagery as so divorced from our own conceptions of womanhood as to be totally irrelevant. Or to be so glad that some reference to Native woman exists within pop-culture that we ignore the distortions. But then some little non-Indian girl grows up to be a voter that can't connect modern, real Indian people to the romanticized tree-singing Princess. The non-Native boy grows up steeped in the darker hyper-sexualized imagery of this imagined Indian womanhood and one night, while under the influence, fulfills his fantasies with a Native girl he found hitchhiking.


Now lest I be accused of pomposity and idling away my percap (I wish) on the internet, I'm just a child who thought too much about how good, God-fearing people, with lofty ideals, on both sides could be heirs to the blood soaked history, that they turned into my bed-time tales, who grow up to be a pattern-seeking scientist and artist. I like a good debate. Now, present your contrary viewpoint and persuade me. In the interest avoiding negativity and keeping the site PG, should you feel the urge to insult or defame me, please do so without resorting coded profanity :) (I especially like insults that require I look things up in the dictionary, LOL. )

nono, I totally understand what you're saying, and I totally respect your position in this conversation. I'm also thankful that you're not degrading me or insulting me for my viewpoints as well. I completed a couple months reading non-stop about culture and how Disney construes and mis-interprets international values. Disney gives little girls an "image" of how a "beautiful woman" is "supposed" to look. I get that. After having my own children and looking back on when I was a kid, I decided as a parent that I am going to allow my daughter to live in this "fantasy world" if she wants. If she feels like wearing a huge poofy dress will make her feel like a beautiful princess, then so be it. If my daughter wants to "feel pretty" by pretending to be Disney's Pocahontas, then cool...as long as what she wears is modest, I'm fine (heck, I wont even let my daughter wear a bikini lol). I remember how I wanted to be a Princess when I was a kid and now that I'm an adult and have the common sense to know that ALL Disney Princesses are fake, I'm ok with it.

I suppose my point is, In my opinion, it's ok to let kids be kids and let little girls be little girls. They will learn the truth about Pocahontas and the truth about how ugly/cruel the world really is when they're old enough.

OLChemist 11-12-2014 10:19 PM

Hmmmm. Let's look at this then from dominant culture norms....

I certainly can remember playing princess with my non-Indian friends and family when I was a child. We also played Wonder Woman and witches. (Bear with me, these are related.) These were all female figures with power -- based on royal blood and exceptional beauty, magic lassos, or occult powers. These archetypes elements of a culture which, especially post-industral revolution, has been none too kind to their women. They offer a means to transcend the disadvantaged position of women.

For modern dominant culture women the sexual attractiveness of the princess/Pocahottie is a kind of power. In my opinion a false power, because it is still predicated on dominant culture male desires.


That said, I understand what you are saying about letting kids be kids and enjoy their fantasies. But, I'm not sure when the fantastic crystalizes into stereotype.

OLChemist 11-25-2014 09:46 AM

Ahh, fall is in the air. Time for more sexually exploitive imagery of Native women:

ICTM on Tasteless Thanksgiving Ad

wardancer 11-25-2014 10:17 AM

You should send that in a PM to teenabear , she probably doesn't read ICT !

alumphfres 11-25-2014 11:21 AM

Take a hint from Frozen - 'Let It Go!'

Toolbox 11-25-2014 11:41 AM

The ad is doing exactly what they intended it to do and people fall for it over and over again. What they intended to do was use imagery and verbiage that they know will cause a controversy and that people will start sharing it around on Facebook and the internet thereby spreading the ad around for FREE. As for as the owners of that establishment they could probably care less about what a handful of people in MPLS/St. Paul think as they probably would have not even considered going to such a place anyway. They also couldn't give a rats butt about people that don't live in that region as those people wouldn't become customers. In sum a lot of people in that region have now seen the ad due to social media and the majority of them that don't care about the controversy might consider going there instead of their usual place.

Do I think the use of such imagery and verbiage is wrong - YES.


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