Editor's Note: 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.
Need to just lighten up a bit ..just say you are American and leave it at that
Actually, you're the dummy.
More faux outrage over what should be a non-issue.
Can't wait for her article on the pangs of being Irish when the leprechauns and green beer flow in March.
Why shoul she. She isn't Irish. That's the point. One you do not get
I think the point is that they don't matter any more than anyone else. Did you know that March is Women's History Month? No? Maybe you should consider that every group wants to be recognized and that no group is better than any other.
university of california has native remains .....think the natives should dig white people too and put them in a glass case on the reservations. what do you all think of this plan?
Great idea. Maybe people will finally get the point
That's a great idea. They can start with the 'Father of our Country', brave indian fighting general and magnanimous slave owner..(drum roll, please)..Geeoorge..WASHINGTON!!
Native American activists sure do whine a lot.
umm, no more so then the African Americans or the Latin Armericans... or just about any other group that decides to step up in defense of their nationality.
Gee....I thought we are all Americans....
Yeah, especially the non-native looking ones like Jenni Monet.
Funny how activists talk about issues. Isn't it? (sarcasm)
I find it ironic that in an article devoted to the subject of offending Native Americans, the author referred to Native Americans as Indians one more than one occasion.
The last time I checked, Native Americans are not from India and so are not Indian.
What is more offensive, a non-Native American wearing Native American inspired garb or referring to Native Americans by the wrong ethnicity?
If I was Native American, I would be more offended by someone calling me Indian than I would be over a underwear model wearing a headdress.
Capone. You are not Indian or Native American so you should shut up.
Sorry but I disagree. It was and still is common to reply to native Americans as Indians when there is not a reason to confuse them with people from India. It is just the shorten version of using American Indians. American Indians reference is the same as Native Americans as America is not their word for themselves. But with so many different tribes I don't know if there was a single word or a few words among them that would refer to all of them on the continent or a great many of them. Might need to go back to Cuba and find a word to use that would be more appropriate than either term.
Recent studies have shown that the indigenous people of the United States prefer to be called "American Indians" over "Native Americans." Look up the information from the US Census Bureau.
Yes, but is still differs. I was a cultural anthropologist and commonly used "American Indians" to refer to people because the local group with which I was working preferred that designation . However, I went out west and used that term and was told "American Indian" was offensive and they preferred "Native American." Totally different groups, different cultures, different languages, different histories...fine, so when I was with that group, i used "Native American."
Indigenous people are just as diverse as the rest of us. I can't expect someone from south Florida to make decisions about what someone in New Mexico wants to be called any more than I would call someone from Ireland a Scotsman.
Capone, I agree that Indians or whatever they prefer to be called have a right to protest being commercialized and used as "mascots", but let's be realistic: the ancestors of most Indians came from Asia. DNA tests have even located the areas from which they emigrated. There are no truly "native" Americans; their ancestors were the first immigrants. On the whole, however, when people whine and complain about every tiniest slight, they soon lose public sympathy. Just my $.02 worth, but instead of worrying about minor slights which weren't meant to offend they would be better served to work on the serious problems in areas such as education, employment, health care, etc.
counselortroi, if you're going to play that angle, then follow it all the way to its source: You, me, and every other human on Earth is African. Just sayin'...
America, named after Amerigo Vespuce. Wouldn't "Native American" be just as condescending?
Well, having grown up in part of Oklahoma with at least 4 tribes within the county and a large plurality to majority of people being Indian depending on how you count with percentage of blood. There were no "traditional" reservations as one finds in Arizona. I find some of this discussions about native Americans over blown. Everyone in the county attended the same schools, they had the same farm equipment or worked at the same tire company or mines. One of the tribe owned the mineral rights to most of the mining area. There was a small amount of tribal land for tribal functions but most of the native Americans did not live separately from rest of the community.
The Quapaw High School had an Indian symbol as part of the team mascot. The Miami High School and the Seneca High School had non-Indian symbols. The Ottawa county seal had native American symbols as part of it. Besides those 4 tribes there were the Cherokee tribe around. So growing up in the 50s and 60s in Oklahoma I saw no discrimination as a politician might be Indian or not. So maybe giving each Indian 160 acres of land to own themselves and the tribe compensation for rest of its land was the best thing to happen when Oklahoma became a state. The 160 acres was the same amount of land given people who participated in the land rush in Oklahoma.
nothing that a bottle of Jack Daniels won't fix...
Jack Daniels? How about a can of sterno.
Where's the outcry about Elizabeth Warren "playing Indian?"
Elizabeth was simply going off of the information she was supplied with while growing up. In the past, it was a shame to have any sort of NA history in your blood, so many people these days don't have any clue they may have some blood in them. It is not Ms. Warrens fault for supporting something she was apparently proud of. As she said numerous times (and proven by fact checkers), she has not been given any sort of preferential treatment in obtaining a position of power simply because she had "bubbled" Native American on her SAT's.
If she was passed incorrect information regarding her ancestry, so be it. Kudos to her for at least being proud of where she thought she came from..
You wrote a wonderful reply to fool " @grant" . However, @grant is probably a junior high student who is repeating something his intoxicated parents said around their T-Giving Day dinner ( ironically) .Trolls such as that sadly are not deserving of, nor educated or affected by your thoughtful comment. Save your energy and skills were they can affect change rather than your blood pressure. Take Care, daniel121
I grew up in Oklahoma in the 50s and 60s in Ottawa county. No one hide that they were part Indian. I had cousins who were Indians. How can you say that being Cherokee from John Ross who lead the tribe in some of its darkest days to Sequoyah who invented the Cherokee Alphabet. There have been NA senators and congressmen from Oklahoma.
I have never known anyone in Oklahoma saying bad words against Indians. I would attend the public part of the pow-wows at night as a guest. Nothing fancy unlike the big shows that I have seen in Cleveland where some tribes comes to put on a simulated pow-wow. Just a gathering of community.
If we remove all references from our society about Indians then they will be forgotten. Is that what we want to happen? I prefer to celebrate the American Indian and not forget them even though I am not Indian.
OMG, they were wearing Indian inspired outfits!!!
Get over it. No one living today had anything to do with what happened to anyone back then. Further, Native Americans have just the same opportunity to go out and succeed of fail as anyone else does.
You wrote, "No one living had anything to do with what happened back then". Are you seriously that ignorant? You publicly embarrassed yourself.
yes he is..
but can you blame him
his father was named mitt.
Please explain how he embarrassed himself Julie....instead of simply throwing up a blanket comment like that. What he said makes perfect sense. Stop being the Uncle Tom for Native Americans...
How is pointing out "indian killers" died well over a century ago ignorance?
"Further, Native Americans have just the same opportunity to go out and succeed of fail as anyone else does."
American Indians today are still coping with the effects of essentially having the cultures they'd built up for hundreds of years destroyed by Europeans not all that long ago. As a people, their families were decimated, and their ways of life inextricably altered. They were forced to live on tiny, often sub-par plots of land (reservations) that many still reside on today. While their are certainly exceptions in every group, today poverty runs rampant throughout many of these reservations, and with it all the effects of such: lack of education, substance abuse problems, general lack of opportunity, decent healthcare, etc.
For you to say that American Indians have the same chances as "everyone" in our society only reveals your own ignorance and general lack of understanding on the issues they face. You should make sure you understand the facts of a situation before espousing publicly with cliches and generalities.
Tribes randomly killed and traded with each other. Many conflicts were probably over resources. Kinda like why Europeans left Europe, more resources in North America. Did hunters sit around and complain when the buffalo/bison herds moved on? No, they followed them. They adapted. Tribes today that are doing the same thing (adapting) are doing well.
Wrong. Read up on the forced boarding schools and attempted genocide of the tribes. It is unbelievable the crime against humanity that occurred in our recent past. These kids are alive now as adults trying to mend lives torn apart.
.... ahem, GET OVER YOURSELVES!
The reset of the country
Not that violence against women (or anyone) is acceptable, but I find it curious that, in an article about discrimination and mistreatment of native populations, you carefully omit any mention of who is perpetrating these incidents of rape and domestic violence. It's disingenuous to imply that these are products of non-native fetishization of Indian women without addressing what proportion of said incidents are perpetrated by other native people. The perpetrators should, of course, be dealt with in any case, but your attempt to link the situation to a broader xenophobia is substandard argumentation and intellectually facile, if not actually outright dishonest and self-serving.
Easy there, you have exceeded the allowance for fact and logic for this string. You echo my thoughts exactly.
Just say no to political correctness.
"In conclusion, America today is in the throes of the greatest and direst transformation in its history. We are becoming an ideological state, a country with an official state ideology enforced by the power of the state. In “hate crimes” we now have people serving jail sentences for political thoughts. And the Congress is now moving to expand that category ever further. Affirmative action is part of it. The terror against anyone who dissents from Political Correctness on campus is part of it. It’s exactly what we have seen happen in Russia, in Germany, in Italy, in China, and now it’s coming here. And we don’t recognize it because we call it Political Correctness and laugh it off. My message today is that it’s not funny, it’s here, it’s growing and it will eventually destroy, as it seeks to destroy, everything that we have ever defined as our freedom and our culture."
I'm an actual Native American (Indian) – Blackfoot on my mother's side and Shoshone on my father's side. I am on oth tribal rolls. Let say one thing, THAT young lady is welcome to become a part of either band! Wow!
Relax, sweetie, time for your meds.
you must be a dunce Redneck
I am proud to be a Navajo woman..I do not find any of the imitations offensive...I believe that as the saying goes...immitation is the biggest form of flattery? Anyhow...just thought I'd throw that out there..
Dine, I think that you demonstrate wisdom.
There is a paradoxical, or is it ironic, place between what some think is mockery and others see as flattery.
I say that ole Oscar got it right, "There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about."
I don't think that the imitation of dress is trivial, but focusing upon it versus the real issues with Native Americans is the wrong distraction. Native Americans have not been treated right and deserve not only respect but also oil and mineral royalties. Give up the obvious for the essential. If anything, use the loud, symbolic objections to bring light to the things that are truly unjust.
But, as with all groups, one person cannot act as a spokesperson and if many people say they are offended, it is easy enough to change the behavior stop the offending behavior.
1% of the population.
Public schools around the country are being forced to change their team names and mascots to anything other than something that resembles Native America; Chiefs, Braves, Warriors, etc. Now, people are getting bent out of shape for any use or reference of Native Americans in Pop Culture. I get it; it's how the minority shows that they have power too. It's how they "stick it back to The Man." I get it.
Problem is, by removing all references from the Mainstream, they're boxing their culture into reservation cultural centers and gift shops. No one will be exposed in any way to their culture, no matter how whimsical, and even worse, no one will care.
They will become like the Celtic Druids, little-remembered and mostly-imagined ghosts from the past.
...and when they're completely forgotten they'll say it's a white man's conspiracy!
So so true
my son never knew about afrian american culture
until we switched his schools from the tigers to the montgomery black faces
Thanks Mr. Pear. Let us also remove the following references to segments of people, I am sure that I will miss some so please chime in with yours:
Good grief. PC is destroying this once great country. The only thing offensive with that photo is the emaciated model who should put some meat on her bones.
Speak for yourself. I'm Blackfoot and our women are quite slender. The model would make a lovely addition to my band. I, for one, would welcome her with open arms :)
Hey I like skinny or full figured, race don't matter either.
Just wear a kilt. We Scots don't care!
The only offensive part of this is the use of the super skinny models!
...and I wonder if the writer chick would have been okay with this if it had been a Native american model?
I would have.
Give me a break!! We need to get rid of PC police and get back to more important things, like keeping Obama and fiends from bankrupting the country. Nothing offensive here..
Obama is your daddy
Better they bankrupt it while all their faces are up there.
If by obama's "friends" you mean Bush/Cheney,Bush41 and Reagan – who all ran up the debt hugely – then I agree with you. If the U.S. doesn't collapse under it's debt than I suspect political correctness run amok will do us in!
But seriously, I suspect many Native Americans would be much better off integrating into American society rather than living on the res, where alcoholism and poverty are rampant. And as an added bonus the Indian women's chances of being raped will go way down, apparently – if they blend into American society like other ethnic groups have.
I'm Native American and I wasn't offended by any of these things. Frankly speaking, our country has gotten WAY too politically correct. (Thanks Liberals!)
I wasn't surprised to see the writer of the article was some liberal chick, either. No surprise there...always looking for something to be offended by... Sigh.
Well, you could have taken advantage of the Victoria's Secret situation in a positive way – but no.
That model and photo is insultingly inauthentic. Today's Indian women wear dealers' uniforms and work in casinos, so can we please stop with the feathers already!
I have read and heard that many Native Americans are accepting Islam as guidance and way of life. It is sad to say that teenage suicide is highest amongst Native Americans, as well as alcoholism. Most people that are reading this know the root cause of these problems, but many don't realize that the cure to many social ailments is in the Qur'an. The majority of Islamic history, right up until the modern era of westernization and European conquest of the middle east, Muslims have been the most highly educated people on the planet and have avoided many of the social ailments and diseases that typically ruin men and families. Interestingly enough, it is Islam, that is slowly proving to be the cure for the widespread alcoholism and social disease in this very special group of people, thank God. Peace and Blessings.
I haven't heard anything remotely close to what you are saying. My home state has a relatively high population of native people, and they are devoted to their culture and religion. Islam, Chrisitianity, Hinduism or any other non native influence would only cause further distance between the modern world and a history that is difficult to preserve.
OH GIVE ME A BREAK
So what they're saying is it's ok to strut a half naked half starved looking girl down a runway as long as she looks like an angel or something. Because that's more respectful or more realistic or something? Yeah. That's a problem all right. I'm glad I have you to tell me what I need to know here.
I don't think any disrespect was intended by any of these groups' portrayals of Native American iconic imagery. Sure, some of the imagery was drawn from stereotype depictions, but not in a hurtful, negative, or derogatory way.
It's time to stop crying foul and pretending to be outraged, and use these instances as opportunities to discuss and educate those that don't know about today's Native american peoples what is reality and what is character representation. Stop opposing everything with the word Indian in it, or an image of a native warrior as its mascot, and use the opportunity to celebrate a culture that for far too long has only been told about in PBS specials or Hollywood fiction.
No offense but if the original indians look like this, I see why columbus travelled so far to get here
Yeah, and we also taught them how to wear clothes instead of loin cloths.
Get over it, Ana.
Why view everything as negative? I'm impressed by headdresses and totem poles. I love thunderbird moccasins. I have realized recently that the "offense" is really just about money.
Everybody's way too touchy. You can't change the past no matter what. Get over it!
The author is right. The model should take off the offensive head gear and bikini.
The author is wrong, but Mark is right. Well, half right, she should loose the bikini!
America was a melting pot. It is now 'diverse' and 'multi-cultural'.
Notre Dame's next.
Just say no to hackneyed, overused, played-out expressions like "Just Say No."
All our distant relatives are from East Africa. The outsides are just for show.
I was just wondering if this means that no one should wear Navajo silver and turquoise jewelry that isn't at least part native American? How will this be enforced? Should I go back and re-pawn all I've bought just to be PC? I always wore it as a compliment to NA's not to demean them. I'm confused now.
Jeez, could there be a bigger non issue? The only damage being done is to a few hyper sensitive egos. Let's celebrate and educate Native American style and culture instead of burying every single reference underground.
I am a descendant of Cherokee, as well as German, French, Irish and Scottish heritage. So, I am an American Mutt. But I hold dear to the history of my Cherokee ancestry. I am also a Historian, by education. I spent 5 years at university in Indiana earning a Bachelor's and Masters in History. <– That's what you call a credibility and credentials statement for what I am about to say.
I could give a rat's dirty behind about what a fashion designer, a pop group or the mainstream media has to say about "my people". What disturbs me, however, is how many commentators on this thread have a distorted perception of History. Many talk about being Irish, Scottish, German or whatever and not being offended because now you're American. That's an easy take when you consider the diversity of this country. Immigrants have come to this country in wave after wave, decade after decade to build a great nation. But the one thing you fail to consider is that Native American Indians did not get to participate in that process that so many immigrants did endeavor. Dotted across the American landscape are reservations to where a whole race of people were summarily segregated once they were conquered, robbed and stripped of their dignity. And it's not all "Ancient" History, either. As recently as the 1970's the Native American peoples have been the target of governmental abuse. While the Native American Nations have certainly made ground in the past 40 years in obtaining more rights and being allowed to integrate into the American experience, it has by no means been easy or necessarily effective. Go to a reservation in South Dakota, or Oklahoma, and tell me if you see the American Dream any where there. Look into the eyes of a Lakota orphan and tell her she can be anything she wants in this country. It's not about being "PC". It's about a Nation of proud people trying to regain their dignity through a haze of stereotypes and misconceptions that have been perpetuated for more than 100 years.
took your peoples dignity, and talk about how the government try to abuse your people. how about you look up a tribe call Makah Indians in Washington and what they do to to abuse there right and take advantage of the people around them.
There was a war, the natives lost. End of story. The only decision left is are they going to continue to pine for the old days (which were never as ideal as portrayed) or get on with life and fit in. All of this whining about respect has the opposite effect to most of the population. Those minorities that work hard, play by the rules, and don't expect any special treatment are the ones that succeed.
There were also treaties where the US Government made promise after promise that was broken.
Perhaps it is time to ask, is isolation of symbols and culture and anger because other enjoy the potential use of them going to make things worse? Or might a more open view of them get more people involved and thinking of them.
Reservations are an unfortunate part of our history which never should have happened. But guess what, one race has been doing nasty stuff to another race since time began so its time to get over it. Some day the Chinese will do to Americans what Americans did to Indians – its how the world works.
The amazing thing isn't that whites did some nasty stuff to Indians. The amazing thing is that Indians stay on the very poverty ridden reservations that that they complain so vehemently about being sent to...get off the reservation and assimilate if you want a decent life!
It's funny that when something like this happens to black people or asians, or hispanics, or even jews people get angry and back them up. So why is it when this happens to native americans people's response is always along the lines of, "Get over it"
Is it because you can get away with it? I mean can you imagine someone saying to a Jew who is complaining abou the Holocaust to "get over it." or to an African American about slavery and race riots to "get over it."
I think you really need to rethink your stance buddy.
The problem is that most people do not do their homework. If VS had did their homework they would have known that the headdress that they put on a woman model is and of itself offensive as culturally women did not wear headdress, as they did not go to war, and that for AI (American Indians) each feather is a symbol of an act of valor obtained in battle. Within the AI communities when our soldiers come back from war (yes we have evolved to include women) they are honored not only the medals they received from the US government but what we as tribe honor them with as well, which is feathers for their sacrifice. So let’s see if VS will decide to honor the US military by having models walk around in military inspired bikinis with Medals of Honors cascading down her back and see how long it will be before people complain. Medals of Honor or symbols of valor in my opinion regardless of cultural background are reserved to be worn by the people who earned them not for people who want to play dress up. If you notice, it is the headdress that gets most people upset, not so much the use of leather inspired bikini with the fringe, which I personally find tacky but don’t care about so much, it is the headdress. Had VS done their homework, rather than hope there was not enough of us to care then maybe this would not have happened. But as they say negative publicity is better than no publicity and maybe that is what they were aiming for. As far as everything being so pc, it is called history, learn it because; “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana). And for inquiring minds I am an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, which does not have casinos.
Thanks for this. I honestly didn't think the whole thing was a big deal, but after reading what you wrote it does shed a new light.
Doing your research goes a long way.
My first thought when I saw the picture was "why are they putting a headdress of male leaders on a female model?" Then I saw them using the "sq" word. Geez, I know very little about indingenous Americans and I know better than that. This is nothing that you should not have picked up in school, if you had been paying attention.
lol you probably do say all white people are racist.
No, just you. LMAO
Fact@native2012- the indians were defeated. They fought back to defend their lifestyle but much like my polish ancestors who got their butts kicked repeatedly, the indians couldnt defeat hordes of people wanting their land. Frankly i am tired of all the hurt feelings and thin skins. Where is my german heritage month or my polish heritage month? What about the irish? And lets not act like the indians were all such peace loving and wonderful to their own people. Some tribes were nice and some were warmongers. Revisionist history is tedious.
Here's a question...a woman dresses up in revealing bikini that looks like rags, wears a crown of thorns, caresses a huge cross as a prop and is drinking "holy water". Is this offensive?
not at all
"Here's a question...a woman dresses up in revealing bikini that looks like rags, wears a crown of thorns, caresses a huge cross as a prop and is drinking "holy water". Is this offensive?"
Only if people let it be offensive to them.
Also, people dress as angels, a religious symbol. Ain't it odd that is more accepted, but not other things?
That's because people have been conditioned for one thing to be offensive and another is not.
But here is the real trick. None of this was used with the intention to be offensive. It is like the person in the neighborhood who hands out the letters at their door on Holloween saying how offensive that holiday is to them. People say: Okay, and then avoid them a go on enjoying life, and avoiding the people who got angry.
I seem to remeber the Roman Catholic Church was not amused when Joanna Krupa dressed up as a scantily clad angel lady.
You live on stolen land. I'd tread softly if I were you. Or try to buy the land from the real owners. Yet another suggestion would be for you to start over in some desert to see if you're still so self-righteous after that experience.
Stolen land, well if you cant protect your house guess you don't deserve it.
What was done to the Indians was a trajegy of epic proportions. I have a conserable number of Native relatives now and in many generations back through time. My question is what does that have to do with a woman wearing a feathers. Is it cultural insensitivity if she wears a green shamrock, would the Irish be outraged, or the protestants? Imitation really IS the sincerist for of flattery. She wore the headsress because it looked cool (and hot) not because she is white and saying na na na my ancestors beat you.
The Native Indians got here first crossing over from Asia. They in fact are immigrants.They have evolved quite well since they arrived and have become very good business persons – casinos for example! I am friends with several Indians and they have no problem with depictions of their race by others. In fact they are amused.
No, there were many different people who came here after the original inhabitants came here over 14000 years ago.
When was the last time Pope John Paul or Malcolm X had violence or death involved with them?
Very poor analogy.
Malcolm X, leader of the Blank Panthers? I would hardly say his slate was clean. But neither one of them were facing there people being annihilated.
Umm Malcolm X wasn't the leader of the black panthers and he never killed anyone. Black Panthers didn't either. The Black Panthers were formed to protect the black community from racial injustice and violence at the time and simply advocated self-defense. The image of a violent Malcolm x and Black Panther party were put into the media by J Edgar Hoover and the FBI as well as the Reagan administration. I'm half black and a member of the Choctaw nation btw. I realize u were agreeing with the author and I do as well. I just cant stand when ppm have their info wrong. But yes nobody's perfect including Malcolm X. Btw Bobby Seale and Hush P Newton were the leaders of the black panthers.
I am of Scandinavian decent and I am very proud of my ancestors and heritage. That said, I have absolutely no problem with the Minnesota Vikings, horns and all. Skol!
The difference is that the Vikings don't exist any more.
Nothing to go on the warpath about. Another hatchet job by the PC police, though I do have reservations considering the scalping I took at the casino. Lost lots of wampum and may be forced to give up my teepee. Will have my heat cut off and my toupee will get cold as I'll be unable to keep my wigwam.
Thanks. You've been a great audience and don't forget to tip your server for the firewater.
oh man, I haven't laughed that hard for a long time – where's the "like" button!!!
Does the author know how oppressive the native Americans were with thier women?
I think she must, as she is amember of a tribe and an expert on thier history.
Do we really want to protect and preservs all cultures, no matter how twisted and sick they are?
I don't know where you got your history from but most tribes treated their women with great respect. My native mother was the matriarch of our village and held in high regard by everyone. The dysfunction that you see on some villages where women are mistreated was learned behaviour from the residential schools we were forced to attend, and the influence of Christianity [again forced on us]. Christianity taught people to make 2nd class citizens of their women.
Historically, women were highly respected in Native cultures. Same for elders.
No, the author doesn't know how oppressive native people WERE to thier women - she doesn't even realise how oppressive they ARE. Those rape and murder statistics? It sure looks as if she cites those to show how terribly non-NI people treat NI women. Now, really, are those rapes and murders by tons of white guys or black guys or even Asian guys driving out to the reservation where they know they can't hide or disappear? Nope, you guessed it, they're by the Native boys, the Native husbands, just doing what they have done for a thousand years. Sorry.
Really? In a society that elects a woman who LIED about Native American Heritage.. why does anyone out there care?
You are severely ill-informed.
This is getting silly, there is nothing wrong with dressing up in lingerie and wearing a native american head dress. What are they going to do, try and copyright it? Stop being a kill joy!
"But little recognition has been paid to the original inhabitants who represent 1% of the U.S. population."
I'm thoughtful of the native American populate, but if a group does not want traditional images used in modern context, including sport teams, dress, etc. is it really a surprise there is so little recognition?
Irish could, if they wanted, be offended by people wearing green or the leprechaun on the Notre Dame logo. But they choose to not be offended and embrace the modern use of the symbology and even smile at it. The Native American's don't want that recognition, so be it, less recognition and exposure to people in the world.
The headdress...the jewelry...all of that are worn by native americans anyways....what's the problem with someone else wearing the same thing they wear?
Does that fall under the term that blacks say...only they can use the "N" word?
Women cannot wear the headdress. That is a warrior thing.
It is issensitive to thier disrespect for women.
I didn't say women...I said...anyone.
Think of it like the robes of a priest, the habit of a nun, a collar for a minister, the stripes on a military uniform. Is it offensive if someone uses these as part of a skimpy outfit? Remember, these are symbols of a culture and often a religion.
Insanity on both sides!
Just between you and me, I think that was sarcasm.
What happened with the Native Americans is a tragedy but it's time to move on.....be proud of your heritage and history as every person should be of theirs, but if everyone gets salty over sour subjects concerning a past generation then we'll always be stuck saying sorry to a bunch of people that believe that someone owes them an apology for something they need not apologize for.....
Just more politically correct BS. I'm guessing that of those 34% of native american women who will be raped, 99% of them will be raped by a native american guy – and NOT because he saw a Gwen Stefani video or a Victoria's Secret model wearing a headdress. And by the way...read REAL accounts of history such as the Lewis and Clark journals and you will see that Native Americans were exploting, raping, enslaving, selling and trading women LONG before the terrible white man showed up.
Based on what?
Based on what, what?
so what, playing Indian, cowboy. Inuit, gangster or what ever, nothing wrong with it, these groups will get up tight and sue for any stupid reason,
So as a white Anglo-Saxon protestant who can trace his lineage back to the colonial times, should I be offended by people wearing buckles on their heads and calling themselves Pilgrims? How is "playing Indian" any different than "playing Pilgrim"? Get over yourself.
You got it scott, thats what I was trying to get across thanks
And what if the people portraying the Pilgrims were trivializing the Bible? Remember, many Native American images have a dual interpretation, including a religious one.
Again, pilgrims with buckles don't exist any more (and I'm pretty sure their buckles had nothing to do with their religions anyway). If more of you would consider these differences, maybe you'd understand the underlying problem better.
Its bad enough we took away their land ...must we humiliate their traditions and sacred beliefs too?- everyone knows what these head pieces represent...unless victoria secret is admitting that their creative heads are loonies for not understand its significance.
Oh get over it. People need to stop being so sensitive. I have Irish ancestry. I don't get myself in a huff when people use the feast day of the patron Saint of Ireland as an excuse to get drunk. And nor should I. There's a difference between having a good time, and trying to defame a culture, and every example in this article should be tallied in the former category.
You would get upset if a catholic priest was portrayed at an alter with a bottle of Jameson whiskey in hand... by a 21 year old model dressed as that person.
If it wasn't us, it would have been somebody else (most likely worse). Native Americans were 1,000 years behind the rest of the planet. They were doomed.
Here's a little history lesson for you – most of the east coast Native Americans were wiped out by disease brought by the white man. Another history lesson – the idea of democracy that we now have was developed because our founding fathers saw this form of government in the indian nations. Last history lesson – this land was covered with cities and villages. The idea that all indians lived in teepees is a myth. The pilgrims that celebrated Thanksgiving only survived because they took over a village vacated by indians. (Indians that were wiped out by disease brought in by earlier white men.)
@ Randy,in your line of thinking Europeans will have a claim on asians that sent over the bubonic plague that wiped out 1/3 of Europians .
Because Native Americans need to be more respected, especially more than blacks, than they are right now. They were here in America long long long before anyone else.
Right, and they are here illegally, crossing an unguarded border, hunting without licences, squatting on property without payment, then making claims that "their" lands were stolden.
A DEFEATED RACE??????? Indian nations of today are stronger than ever, and alot more self sufficent than the us government. Were not begging ANYONE for money, you ignorant buffoon
tne author conveniently omits the fact that those statistics on rape and domestic abuse are in the majority committed by other native americans. So are non native americans supposed to feel guilty that one ethnic group is victimizing their own?
I am a proud chickasaw indian, YOU do not pay my income thankyou very much; i work 40 hours a week and i am not dependent on my tribe or our worthless government. I dont mind people "playing indian" but i do find your response extremely vulgar and offensive, had this article been regarding ANY other race; people would be massively outraged.
How does dressing indian increases rape? Perhaps they need to offer some education and counselling in their communities to reduce that and of course reporting and convicting the rapists will do the trick.
To the Author: I respect your culture, and feel bad for the hatred and destruction visited down upon you by my forefathers.
However, you need to take a look at where your spending your time and effort? Aren't their better crusades to pursue?
Move on from allowing symbols to affect your life. The entertainment industry is great at offending people with symbols, but like you, they are protected by free speech.
It’s made out of fabric not feathers. It’s a “Native American-style headdress and chunky turquoise jewelry”. No warrior would wear this.
Yes, warriors would wear this - during tribal ceremonies.
Obviously not during battle.
"(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?"
More importantly, did anyone even CARE?? Enough of this feel good politically correct BS, how about we just make every month "Glad to be an AMERICAN" month, and remind everyone of what they are NOW, versus what their ancestors might have been? You sure don't see German, Italian, Polish, French, or any other type of Caucasian American month, do you?
Get over it, already!!
Actually, October is National Italian American Heritage month, so yeah other groups are singled out.
That's because everyone knows white people will overcome any obstacle put in their path with little to no complaint...and that is why white people are the only race that is not considered a minority. America knows that white people will thrive and continue to leave a great legacy on this Earth...all while other races sit at white peoples feet begging for the crumbs off our plate. BWWWAAAAHAHAHAHAA!!!! lmao :-)
I'm offended that the author capitalizes each word of Native American Heritage Month, but doesn't for either African American History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month.
What gives? Why does she think it's OK to minimize other minorities?
Elizabeth Warren played an Indian to get ahead in life. Where is the outrage here?
She IS part Cherokee and she didn't 'play anything.' She came from a poor family, worked her butt off, and got a good job.
I was born a Jew and have no problem if this woman wants to pose in a bikini and yarmulke!
lol that's funny, I know Jews are pretty open as long as someone doesn't say something offensive but just because they want to commemorate the culture, more power to you. In my country we loved to sell to our tourists our traditional outfits
I hear you, Jeff. However... there are plenty of people who would be offended by a bikini clad woman wearing a tallis and tefillin on a Victoria Secret runway. Wouldn't you be... just a little?
Sticks and stones can break your bones. But names can *really* hurt you.
Bravo Ms. Monet..bravo! Excellent article!
Something else to consider – – does anyone *actually* think the people responsible for this at Victoria's Secret weren't perfectly-aware that this was going to cause a controversy? They don't give those jobs to chimps, as David Letterman likes to say. Therein, i.m.o., lies part of the exploitation – and therefore part of the offense.
Any publicity is good publicity, so they say, but I very much doubt Victoria's Secret is trying to stir up controversy. I think rather some designer got the idea to work in some Thanksgiving themes and used the headdress as a symbol. Obviously, the guy knows squat about Native American traditions or he'd know that headdress wouldn't have been used by the tribes associated with Thanksgiving history.
However, I do think this is an opportunity to educate, rather than pronounce moral indignation and start playing the minority victim. I don't need to hear that story, and to be honest, I don't respect that story even if it's true. I respect strength, perseverance, and many Native Americans live that daily. Let that be the story on CNN.
I should have specified that kudos go to Mr. Rigney, not Joat.
I wonder how many of these complainers and whiners about how too-PC we've gotten are actually native Americans - the actual potential victims of this archaic and patronizing practice. I'll bet none.
Try to think. It really is harder than it seems and it really is a learned skill. Group A engages in behavior B. Group C says "that can hurt group D." Before saying anything else, Groups A and E say "OH get over yourselves." Before even considering it. Do you REALLY think there isn't prejudice motivating that doubt?
This is an embarassing article and I think the author should apologize and not Victoria Secret. If it offends you don't watch it, but don't tell me that I can't watch it and make my own decision.
Everyone is offended by everything said now-a-days.Everyone should cut off communication with everyone else and not talk to anyone outside their family. Bunch of thin skinned self inflated screw balls.
She looks cute!! The headdress looks cool on her!! The only ones who need to apologize are the ignorant slobs who mindlessly follow like lemmings on saying this or that fashion statement is bad!!
Its the 21st century. Just about every culture have been abused over the course of time. None of it was good. Everyone can point to injustices pushed upon their ancestors. There is nothing we can do about it except to avoid it heading into the future. Meanwhile, feathers and head dresses are not much different than crowns or helmets or hats. Its ridiculous to get angry about some one wearing a hat. Get over it. If anything, Victoria Secret was getting people to remember indians.
I'm SO glad that all the pro sports teams, and a number of school teams, didn't cave to this PC nonsense. People of all races, religions and creeds need to chill out and recognize the difference between true racism, homage, and harmless fun. America is falling apart because of hand-wringing and finger-pointing.
Is she going to be placed in the Witness Protection program? Is this on par with Muslims and their god that shall remain faceless??? Is this where we are headed???
did anyone say her life was being threatened?
"...next year, can you please acknowledge Native American Heritage Month and just say no to "playing Indian"?"
Oh, grow up! Nobody complains when Caucasian sensibilities are upset by reverse discrimination or stereotypes, because when we complain about it suddenly we're "racist" and "bigots" and "white supremacists." The double standard is astounding, enraging, saddening, and completely typical of the pandemic that is political correctness.
Yes, you are all right, we should stop playing dress up, and forget about the Indians, forever.
That feather thing on top of that flesh-stick with clothes on.
I just don't get why are people being so sensitive. I can't say anything anymore without thinking i may offend some random person. People need to put their big boy pants on and stop crying over trivial stuff like this.
It's not trivial. The problem is that they didn't *ask,* whereas they would have if it had been any other self-identifying group. (In spirit, that is.) Listen – this is subtle and it TRULY is complex and is hard to get – so *think* about it. *Hard.* The very fact that some people don't do that shows prejudice. It's copyrighted intellectual material, in spirit if not in fact. Don't see that? *That's* why it's prejudiced, and therefore why it's wrong. It's a form of oppression. Don't understand? Then it's probably most-likely that you're not a member of the group. And yes I know the whole "they don't care/yes but they don't care because they don't understand" argument. See how easily this degenerates into "Us" versus "Them"? Think about it – it's a subtle thing to get but once you do you realize that it truly is wrong, and not in a minor way. It's an expression of oppresion, intentional or not.
Timothy, I'm glad you put it so wonderfully. Thank you for being one of the few that aren't obtuse about the whole thing. I mean, even if people don't agree with it, at least they could understand why Native American tribes were up in arms about it...
I am actually cherokee and I couldnt care less about all this and neither does anybody I know that is also an "Indian". we all laugh at you people that sit on your high horse and seem to think we care. the ones that make a fuss just want to get on tv.
This is officially the dumbest thing I've read all day. Congratulations!
So now we need permission from the leader of a race to do anything related to that race? If I want to wear a Chinese-inspired dress, do I have to call up some sort of Chinese leader for permission now? When did we become a nation of whiners and babies, ready to slap a lawsuit on things that harm no one?
But people are just fine with non Scots wearing kilts? Get over it. Nothing insulting was meant by it.
But intentionally creating a controversy for profit while not caring if somebody did in fact end up being hurt or offended, *was.*
It is not equal. Nobody in America shot all the Scots, burned their homes, stole their babies, or outlawed their religion, okay? Not the same history, not the same scenario, not comparable.
Even if we assume "nothing insulting was meant by it," the whole situation illustrates one or two things: 1) willful ignorance about why this kind of portrayal is problematic in the first place; and/or 2) the controversy aspect mentioned above.
Aren't we beyond getting offended over nothing yet? You didn't see an outcry over the Indian in the Village People, and that was the 70's.
Yes, genius, we've hopefully evolved into better, more racially sensitive humans in those three decades.
Yes but that's because understanding of oppression was low then compared to now. It's *complex,* and takes *much* thinking.
The guy who dressed as an Indian in the Village People is Felipe Rose – His father was Lakota Sioux – HE is an Indian, and wore the native attire as a way to honor his cultural heritage.
Everyone getting angry over something that wasn't mean to offend is the dumb part. Any of you that want to insult my intelligence ever think "hey, maybe if you look at history even fostering this kind of segregation and thought process is simply a way for the few in charge, to keep all the different people out there feeling like they have to be separated, or like one is any better then another?" When you're at work tomorrow, look at the people working next to you doing the same thing you are, then ask yourself how can that person have it ANY better then you do because they're white or red or black or whatever? Don't know about you guys but EVERYONE seems to be in the same damn boat, and it's always the media playing this garbage out to keep us fighting. There really doesn't seem to be any other reason.
There is no "e" in the word "rungs."
Maybe you should try climbing that ladder, yourself.
I studied the photo for two minutes before I saw the headdress.
What he said.
Why don't you crusade against the Washington Redskins who played on Thanksgiving.
People have en masse already complained about both the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Braves, and they've turned a deaf ear without even caring to listen to their concerns for a minute. Do you *honestly* think there's not oppression and insult in that refusal to listen to what thousands of people are saying is a legitimate concern?
Rigney: consider this a blanket 'attaboy' for all your comments – they are right on. Thanks for being so sensible!
Sometimes it is better to be misrepresented and in the public conscious, than to be forgotten (where native culture is headed). You are erasing any trace of native culture from pop culture, and it is being replaced with gangnam style. Do you think the kids are going to learn about native culture by researching it and reading your treatise? Good luck. Native culture will be something solely for academics to peruse. Well done.
Putting a headdress on a mostly naked woman is NOT exposing people to native cultures. It is marketing and exploitation.
IN Oklahoma City we honor original Americans by naming the most important street going right down the middle after the most prolific Indian killer to have ever lived in the USA. He was assigned by Andrew Jackson to make sure the tribes located to Oklahoma stayed in line and also to establish forts and to send raiding parties to hunt down Geronimo. General Phillip |Sheridan killed thousands of Indians so we honor the man by naming our most important street after him. Prior to that, it was named Grand Avenue. So the new 50-story Devon Tower has its address on Sheridan Avenue and everyday Oklahoma gets to celebrate Sheridan's conquest of the relocated Indians.
How does this differ from Cher singing "halfbreed" while on horseback wearing an Indian headdress and not much else?
Cher was part Native American (she's since replaced that part with plastic and silicone) and exploiting yourself is not counter to political correctness.
Who could complain about Cher on horseback, wearing a headdress and little else. That was extra hot back in the day
The same people that are complaining about this..I had to look 3 x to even see the headdress.
So does that mean no hula skirts and coconut bras too?
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