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Do you consider this insensitive or offensive?

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  • Do you consider this insensitive or offensive?

    California has a Native American Day. I was asked to create a small image to bring attention to this, however my boss considered it offensive. I put Chumash characters on the text to share a past local tribe's unique art and choose to include a buffalo, because it was such an important animal to Native American livelihood. Please let me know your opinion. My intent was never to offend anyone, just to try my best to include real elements of culture.
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  • #2
    From my perspective, it doesn't offend. It just leaves me cold. There are several things that provoke this response:

    Two of the petroglyphish figures don't read. As a whole, they seem a bit childish to me. They are probably the biggest thing that puts me off. I wonder if they are what your boss is responding to.

    On another level the choice of a buffalo is a bit odd to me. When I think indigenous people of CA, I think acorns, venison, salmon, manzanita ( I probably should have had breakfast this morning, LOL), baskets, amazing feather work and bird singing. I get the buffalo staff of life thing for plains peoples, but for CA it seems to miss.

    Finally the sunset. Why is there always a sunset? We're not riding off into one....

    If I were given this assignment, I'd be trying to give the image a local flavor and a contemporary tone. CA Indian people are amazing. They are tough as hell. Missions, a gold rush, amazing brutality, and near invisibility have not crushed them. In the 60's, CA tribes and CA urban (relocation) communities were among the early movers and shakers in recovering Indigenous rights. There is an incredible vitality to be conveyed.
    Last edited by OLChemist; 09-25-2015, 01:01 PM.


    • #3
      It would be better appreciated if it had a dolphin. I like the Wishtoyo story.

      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".

      Mr. Rossie Freeman


      • #4
        My personal opinion it's not offensive. It's insensitive because of the petroglyphs used.
        Asema Is Sacred
        Traditional Use, Not Misuse
        Wakan Tanka please have compassion on me.
        OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.


        • #5
          There are some buffalo in California, out on Catalina Island, left over from a movie set decades ago,

          otherwise, the Bear is strongest image in California.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rosacat View Post
            California has a Native American Day. I was asked to create a small image to bring attention to this, however my boss considered it offensive. I put Chumash characters on the text to share a past local tribe's unique art and choose to include a buffalo, because it was such an important animal to Native American livelihood. Please let me know your opinion. My intent was never to offend anyone, just to try my best to include real elements of culture.
            Hi Rosacat,
            Thanks for coming to & asking this online community for our opinions.

            Personally, I don’t find this offensive; but as others here have stated, I’m not a fan of the petroglyphs by themselves & as they are currently laid out in your design especially when there is so much more Native American Californian artwork to choose from. For these petroglyphs to be your only depiction of California Native Americans isn't representative of the wealth that exists.

            I did a quick google search & found a bunch of beautiful baskets, different artwork & designs. If you were to give the appropriate attribution to the source that you are borrowing from below the picture, (i.e. courtesy of or xyz museum) I think you would be fine in using them. It also might be nice to use one of these pics as a faded background or backsplash to your poster/image.

            I agree with all of OLChemist’s comments; especially that the picture of the bison is not relevant to California Indians.

            What is central to and is the essence of our identity of being an American Indian, and what has been crucial to our continued survival, is that we belong to, & are members of, a specific Tribe, Nation &/or a Band. This uniquely defines our creation, our organizational structures, our traditions, our spiritual religious beliefs & our ceremonies, our governments, and our relationships & interconnectedness to each other as a distinct People. To me, the fact that we continue to exist….to survive & thrive…as a people in spite of everything that has happened and has been done to us….is a reason to celebrate & to be proud!

            I feel it would honor the Native Americans of California if you would acknowledge them by name. I don’t think that many non-Indians in the dominant society are aware of the number and diversity of Federally Recognized Tribes/Bands/Nations who are indigenous to the State of California; there are over 100 in California. Maybe near the bottom of your poster, you could embed/overlay their names where you currently have the brown earth. Or maybe change it all up & make your image to be a map of California & list them within the state. When you say small image, I don't know how small/big that means. (???)

            For your convenience and since this idea occurred to me I felt that I should help you out with the California Native tribal/band/nation names. So I’ve taken the list from Wikipedia and consolidated them (to save space) by what seemed to me to be a common tribal or mission affiliation below. I am not a California Indian. So I apologize ahead of time if I have offended anyone by doing this type of grouping. Where I come from it’s okay/common/not disrespectful, for example, to refer to the Chippewa’s altogether (whether they be Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Canadian Chips) although there are differences between the Bands of the Anishinaabe, Ojibwe/a/ay, Chippewa Peoples.

            I don’t have the same reference point regarding California Indians, but I tried my best. Also I stuck with Federally Recognized Tribes/Bands which are legally defined entities; I mean no harm to anyone who is of an indigenous group to California, like the Ohlone People, and who isn’t officially recognized by the US Govt.

            Alternatively, if this still takes up too much landscape on your "small image", most Tribes/Bands typically have an official seal/icon that you can use instead. Another idea along the same lines: our tribe has an official flag; I don’t know if every Californian Native American Tribe/Band/Rancheria/Reservation has one, but I think it would be awesome to show all their flags because most folks don't think of us as sovereign nations.


            • #7

              So the consolidated list of US Federally Recognized American Indians in the State of California that I came up with includes:
              1. Alturas Indian Tribe
              2. Atsugewi Tribe
              3. Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
              4. Cahto Indian Tribe
              5. The Bands of Cahuilla Mission Indians: Agua Caliente; Augustine; Los Coyotes; Morongo; Ramona; Santa Rosa; and Torres-Martinez.
              6. Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
              7. Chetco Indians
              8. Chukchansi Indians
              9. Colorado River Indian Tribes
              10. Cupeno Indians
              11. The Bands of Diegueno Mission Indians: Campo; Capitan Grande; Inaja; La Posta; Manzanita; Mesa Grande; San Pasqual; Santa Ysabel; and Sycuan.
              12. Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
              13. Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
              14. Hoopa Valley Tribe
              15. Hupa Indians
              16. Karuk Indian Tribe
              17. Koi Nation
              18. Kumeyaay Indian Nation
              19. The Bands of Luiseno Mission Indians: La Jolla; Pala; Pauma; Pechanga; Rincon; and Soboba.
              20. Maidu Indians
              21. Mechoopda Indian Tribe
              22. Me-Wuk/Miwok Indians
              23. The Bands of Mission Indians: Cabazon Band; and Twenty-Nine Palms.
              24. Monache Tribe
              25. Mono Indians
              26. Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California
              27. Paiute Indian Tribes
              28. Pit River Tribe
              29. Pomo Indian Tribes
              30. Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation
              31. Quartz Valley Indian Community
              32. Round Valley Indian Tribes
              33. San Manual Band of Serrano Mission Indians
              34. Santa Rosa Indian Community
              35. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians
              36. Shoshone Indian Tribes
              37. Tolowa Indians
              38. Tule River Indian Tribe
              39. United Auburn Indian Community
              40. Washoe Tribe
              41. Wilton Rancheria Indian Tribe
              42. Wintun Indians
              43. Wiyot Tribe
              44. Yana Indians
              45. Yokuts Tribe
              46. Yurok Tribe

              I am posting this reply in an effort to be helpful. If anyone has changes or corrections, please chime in.


              • #8
                I would offer one caution. Be careful should you choose to use an official seal. It could be misconstrued as denoting tribal endorsement.


                • #9
                  As for me, Yeah, there is a brown bear in California and boy, there are so many tribes in California. So my advice to you is to pick the right tribe that you want to represent to have an Aboriginal Day (I prefer this instead of Native American Day). The petroglyph (the figures on top of the Native American Day) is a little too much as we have those here in the Southwest mostly on rocks.

                  So I guess you might have to find ways to design your special announcement to have a special day for Aboriginal people. Sorry to put you in spot that you are not expected from us. So go with the flow in your area especially to ask the Elders in reservation how to make the design you want to let the people know about this special day for them. Good luck on this.

                  You don't have to use Aboriginal Day your want. Ask the Elders what you want to put like Native American Day or Aboriginal or any Tribe name which is in your area. Good luck on making the design the right way.
                  Gegiibishedjig (Deaf Person)


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OLChemist View Post
                    I would offer one caution. Be careful should you choose to use an official seal. It could be misconstrued as denoting tribal endorsement.
                    Yep, that's a very good point! I didn't think about that.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AmigoKumeyaay View Post
                      There are some buffalo in California, out on Catalina Island, left over from a movie set decades ago,

                      otherwise, the Bear is strongest image in California.

                      Camp Pendleton, CA has them as well.
                      R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AmigoKumeyaay View Post
                        There are some buffalo in California, out on Catalina Island, left over from a movie set decades ago,

                        otherwise, the Bear is strongest image in California.
                        I agree, I have FAM out there and my sister married into the Pala Band of Mission Indians in Pala, California and her husband is bear clan. So when I think of Cali NDNs, I think bears.

                        I couldn't see the pic, but from the descriptions posted, I would say 86 the buffalo and be more relative to the natives that live there.
                        You will never understand the introverted nerd in me...and that's okay.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ndnsoldierboy View Post
                          Camp Pendleton, CA has them as well.


                          Should they stay or should they go?

                          It’s the question that Camp Pendleton officials are asking about their bison herd now that genetic tests suggest the animals are robust and genetically pure, making them candidates for relocation to the Great Plains.

                          “What we have today is a real healthy population,” said Roland Sosa, a wildlife biologist at the base.

                          Bison have become something of a signature species on the 125,000-acre installation after 14 of them were donated by the San Diego Zoo nearly 40 years ago. Up to 150 roam the base today, occasionally interrupting training when they wander into live-fire zones.

                          The growth of the herd and the potential to ship some of the animals to prairie conservation areas prompted Camp Pendleton’s wildlife managers to have 10 bison tested for genetic purity in 2008 at a cost of $10,000. The assessment included a look at infectious diseases, contamination from heavy metals and inbreeding.

                          A research group at Texas A&M University recently sent base officials the test results, which showed no evidence of domestic cattle genes or other problems, Sosa said.

                          “The males in the group seem to be reproducing with enough different females that at this point, the diversity of the genetics is fairly good,” he said. “How many years will it take to start seeing inbreeding? No one can really tell.”

                          He said tests showed that Camp Pendleton’s bison are related to two of the most genetically pure herds in the country — at Yellowstone and Wind Cave national parks — as well as animals at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

                          “Bison” is the proper name for the animal that American settlers called “buffalo.” Although there were 40 million in North America in 1800, their numbers dropped to 600 a century later. Through conservation efforts, the population has increased to about 500,000 today.

                          The species is no longer at risk of dying out, but wildlife experts said bison are in danger of becoming “genetically extinct.” The vast majority of living bison have genes from ancestors that were bred with cattle to make them better for human food production.

                          Conservation groups are trying to rebuild bison herds on large wildlife reserves using the purest possible animals because they don’t know what negative traits might be hidden in cattle genes. That movement has gained lots of attention, but a March report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature said little progress has been made to increase the number of animals kept to maintain the genetic diversity of their species.

                          “The herds that are overwhelmingly important are large herds on large landscapes,” said Cormack Gates, a professor at the University of Calgary and a co-author of the report.

                          The American Prairie Foundation is trying to create such a herd on 121,000 acres in Montana. In January, it adopted 94 bison from a national park in Canada to nearly double the size of its bison collection.

                          “We are very interested in getting as big as we can as fast as we can,” said Bryce Christensen, manager of field operations for the foundation in Malta, Mont.

                          He’s intrigued by the Camp Pendleton herd but has not talked with base officials about possibly acquiring any of the bison. Should the Marines want to export bison, Christensen said his group would require health screening on every animal destined for relocation, plus the use of a genetic test recently developed by the University of Missouri. He said the test likely will find domestic cattle genes that escaped detection by other assessments.

                          “If (Camp Pendleton) did the University of Missouri tests and passed with flying colors, and did (additional) disease testing, we would be very, very interested,” Chistensen said.

                          For now, it’s not clear whether base officials want to get rid of their herd. They said Thursday that they will start an environmental review of potential bison strategies this year in hopes of completing it in 2011.

                          “No management options for the bison herd have been excluded,” said Jim Asmus, a wildlife biologist on the base.

                          He said there are plans for more genetic testing using bison hair recovered from dust wallows. Even if the animals turn out to have lots of cattle genes, they still may be relocated to tribal lands that have herds managed for hunting.

                          “Our animals would be certainly pure enough in that case,” Asmus said.

                          Sosa, the other wildlife biologist, said there’s no hurry.

                          “We are not at the stage where there is any need to actively seek out relocating bison,” he said. “The herd does not … affect the training requirements of the units aboard the base.”

                          In Calgary, Gates said base officials should consider whether bison are contributing to Camp Pendleton’s biological diversity — for instance, by improving habitat for other creatures — and whether they have displaced native species.

                          He said there’s no stock response to the bigger issue about whether the bison should be moved. “It is a value-laden question,” he said.


                          • #14
                            UPDATE: 2015

                            The buffalo are still at Pendleton according to Facebook page for the Game Warden

                            Camp Pendleton Game Warden Office, Oceanside, California. 14 likes. Resource Enforcement and Compliance Section (Game Wardens) aboard USMC Base Camp Pendleton.


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