I get asked about cultural appropriation not infrequently, in the age of political correctness and word police I have a few simple questions – if wearing an article or articles of attire can be railed against as cultural appropriation does Russell Means homage to Hop Along Cassidy in the above photo qualify, or does it only work one way depending on ethnicity?
I mean really, look at this, he looks like he’s going to a Halloween party – all that was missing was a pair of six guns strapped to his hip and a sidekick like Gabby Hayes.
When it comes to appropriating which is more egregious clothes or money?
Why money you ask? Consider Means for personal profit law suit against the Cleveland Indians – a multi million dollar suit Means “settled” for thirty five thousand and split with his Cleveland AIM chapter home boy Jerome “Warhorse” Weitzel as he skipped town possibly due to his involvement with a married woman.
What became of Means take? Your guess is as good as mine though Means claimed when pressed he used it to begin Yellow Thunder Camp.
If you’ve ever been to or seen photos of the “camp”, another “donations” scams Means abandoned saying he was tired of “babysitting” when it didn’t become the cash cow he anticipated you’d be obliged to question whether fifteen thousand was invested in it.
Since the suit was all about political correctness and promoted in that way on behalf of Means great concern for his “people” and the scourge of cultural appropriation shouldn’t they have had a say in any settlement arrived at? Shouldn’t they have been the beneficiaries?
If say for instance a person like Dennis Bank$ makes and sells drums to a non indigenous person is he trafficking in cultural appropriation? How about marketing ceremonies, does that qualify?
And if so where’s the politically correct outrage?
Since Means boasted of only flying first class I wonder if his homage to Hoppy was designed and put together by Versace as children, our children, ran around half clothed or in hand me down rags?
The photo from a Center for Western Studies conference at Augustana College related to Wounded Knee 2 in 2012 when AIM got raked over the coals and fully exposed related to their reign of terror and destruction that became known as Wounded Knee 2.
Personally I prioritize issues when it comes to cultural appropriation, I’m not going to jump on whatever the latest meme happens to be
If it comes from any quadrant of the AIM universe I’m not only going to take a second look but a third and fourth as well to ascertain whose behind it, the motivation, and the level of validity.
Prioritize as in the selling of licenses to conduct ceremonies, who puts in appearances for a fee at bogus new age sweat lodges and conferences.
Whose making and selling those dvds of “sacred knowledge”, whose serving up our belief systems and traditions to be hybridized with inclusions of UFOs, “chiefs” acting as emissaries for ETs as they deal tarots cards and gaze into crystal balls accompanied by those without a verifiable drop of indigenous blood who adorn themselves with what they believe is the appropriate ndn attire and name.
Laughable names something like Blue Spirit Eagle Sky Feather or Dances With Humming Birds as they drone on about the great warrior, medicine man/woman, or Cherokee princess they were in a past life or the prophet, “channel”, and healer they are in this life.
Where’s the outrage? Where’s the demand for political correctness?
Is it mitigated by whether a buck or two can be hustled? Whether they are of the nations?
Halloween not long ago was a day when children put on costumes and got to pretend, for the most part now it’s about adults going to parties and getting drunk, and as we all know drunks can get pretty stupid at times.
Do I have an issue with a non indigenous child pretending to be ndn on Halloween?
Not in the least – not anymore than if they pretend to be Spiderman or Cat Woman, or if one of our women makes Chinese of Italian food.
What I have an issue with are those who pretend to be opposed to cultural appropriation as they engage in it themselves – and I really don’t care what their name is or who they think they are.
The origins of Halloween are somewhat obscure – some believe it is of Gaelic origins while others say it is Christian in origin.
If it is Gaelic then one could say it has been culturally appropriated in this country and else where and if our children go “trick or treating” are they engaging in an act of cultural appropriation?
The point being when it comes to political correctness and word and thought police there can be no end to it and as one of multiple priorities we ought to focus on the more egregious appropriation of gangbangers and drug dealers within our communities calling themselves warriors or the appropriation of titles like chief by those who wouldn’t recognize a chief if one stood in front of them.