It happens each Halloween.
Walk store aisles for Halloween costumes, and you will most likely find Indian “costumes.” Or walk downtown on Halloween and find college students appropriating Native culture. You will even find it in elementary schools. Learn why Native identity and cultural appropriation should never, ever take place–at halloween, Thanksgiving or even in daily life as there are many, many non-Native folks out there claiming to be Inidigenous, which is also a historical trend in America.
Philip J. Deloria, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and a professor of history at Harvard University, where his research and teaching focus on the social, cultural, and political histories of the relations among Native American Peoples and the United States. His first book, Playing Indian, traced the tradition of white “Indian play” from the Boston Tea Party to the New Age movement.
Lori Brave Rock, also known as, Misamaakii (miss-um-akii) (Long Time Woman). Lori is a member of the Blackfeet and Kainai Tribes in Canada. For years, she has led campaigns to stop the sale of Halloween “costumes” that depict harmful and shallow stereotypes of Indigenous people — costumes with names like Native American Princess, Toddler Little Chief, and Sexy Cherokee Warrior. In 2018, she created a petition and protest movement demanding that pop-up costume shop Spirit Halloween remove these costumes from their shelves. More information on reparations for First Nations in Canada from their National Center for Truth and Reconciliation.
Last week, a viral video depicting a white math teacher in Riverside, CA dressed in a construction paper headdress, chanting the math mnemonic “soh-cah-toa”, hit the internet. The wildly racist video spread like wildfire, and at the forefront of the movement to uncover that behavior are Indigenous activists like Ivette Xochiyotl. Ivette is a mom and a student as well as a patient, mental health, civil & human rights advocate. She is a Nahua/Yokuts Indigenous activist and a community organizer and an adherent of Zapatismo.
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