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Old 10-29-2014, 03:43 PM   #1
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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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Old 10-29-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
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A friend of mine just found a kid's grass dancer outfit at savers in the Halloween section of the store.
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:23 PM   #3
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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 !
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:48 PM   #4
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Could you go by there and see if they have a tradish outfit ? I need a new outfit !
A lot Ojibwe idems you need?
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Old 10-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #5
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Could you go by there and see if they have a tradish outfit ? I need a new outfit !
OMG....your a nut!!

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Old 11-02-2014, 05:40 AM   #6
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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*
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:54 PM   #7
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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??
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:16 PM   #8
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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...?
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TeenaBear View Post
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
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TeenaBear View Post
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.
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Old 11-10-2014, 01:16 AM   #11
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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.
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Originally Posted by 1DancingBear View Post
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.
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Old 11-10-2014, 07:15 AM   #12
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@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.

Last edited by OLChemist; 11-10-2014 at 07:29 AM.. Reason: Omissions
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:15 AM   #13
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@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!!
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:19 AM   #14
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@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?
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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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!!
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:33 AM   #16
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Dang , I didn't even get a chance to get up on my "high horse" !
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:36 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 11-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #18
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@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...

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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.

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

Last edited by Toolbox; 11-12-2014 at 11:17 PM..
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Old 11-10-2014, 04:00 PM   #19
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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?
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Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


"When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

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Old 11-11-2014, 01:51 AM   #20
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Dang , I didn't even get a chance to get up on my "high horse" !
Get up on der!!! LOL
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