Posts tagged first nations

Posted 2 weeks ago




Lakota Chef Sean Sherman is opening a restaurant in Minneapolis with a “pre-colonization” menu.

I will probably eat here all the time.

How awesome is that?!

More info at his website:

(yo gimme some of that sumac tea, it’s been more than fifteen years since i tasted that deliciousness and it would be really great for my sore throat)

Posted 1 month ago



Aboriginal women ask Stephen Harper: Am I next?

Am I next?

That’s the question aboriginal women are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a new online campaign to renew pressure on his government to call a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women.

Coming on the heels of Harper’s "sociological phenomenon" blunder, the campaign is the brainchild of Holly Jarrett. She’s the cousin of Loretta Saunders, a 26-year-old Inuit student at Saint Mary’s University who was murdered earlier this year. At the time of her death, Saunders was working on her thesis on murdered and missing aboriginal women.

"She had come through a lot of the same kind of struggles that a lot women affected by colonialism and residential school stuff," Jarrett told PressProgress Friday, a day after  launching the Am I Next campaign.

"We wanted to move it forward for her. She was really passionate about telling her story, to stand up and tell the brutal truth," said Jarrett, an Inuit from the Labrador coast who’s now based in Hamilton, Ont.

After organizing one of the largest petitions at calling on the government to launch a public inquiry into hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women, Jarrett decided to launch the Am I Next campaign.

It’s inspired by the Inuktitut word ain, a term of endearment for someone you love in her native language.

Here are some of the faces of the viral campaign:

This is what comes to mind when people try to tell me there is no (or less) racism in Canada. Hundreds of aboriginal and First Nations women are missing, abused, and murdered, and our country and GOVERNMENT doesn’t care. It doesn’t. Indigenous women don’t matter to our government and it’s horrifying.  Please click some of the above mentioned links and learn about these women and this campaign. 

Posted 5 months ago

I love these new "type these words into your tags box and post the first tag that automatically pops up" thingies, so fun. Let’s do another one:

  • can’t
  • don’t
  • first
  • help
  • please
  • one
  • my
  • will
  • stop
  • get
  • honestly
  • I’m

(Source: spoopy-sleipnir)

Posted 6 months ago


Earrings, Winnie’s Native Design

Posted 6 months ago
Posted 7 months ago

pin, Todd Lonedog Bordeaux (Lakota)


pin, Todd Lonedog Bordeaux (Lakota)

Posted 9 months ago

First Nation teen told not to wear 'Got Land?' shirt at school - Saskatchewan - CBC News


I hadn’t seen this posted here yet and I think it’s the kind of thing Tumblr might like to check out.

Basically, some First Nations students were wearing the “Got Land? Thank an Indian” shirts at school, and some parents got mad and made the school have them not wear it. One student kept wearing hers anyhow.

The upshot? There was mediation between the school and the reserve, and the students get to wear their shirts to school if they want.

Posted 10 months ago
As we were driving home one evening, we noticed a young girl hitchhiking. It was late at night, cold, and raining outside. She was young, First Nations, and not dressed for the weather. As we stopped to pick her up, we noticed a white truck stop on the other side of the road, and two guys got out and walked towards her. We cut them off, and told her to hop in. We drove her deeper and deeper into the woods, onto dirt roads with no street lighting. She told us her story — 17 years old, First Nations, tough upbringing…This was just weeks after the gruesome murder of Tyesha Jones, and we dropped her off within kilometres of where the body had been found. We wrote to the local paper, and it made the front page. A few weeks later, that same local newspaper reported the attempted abduction of a 17-year-old girl, on the same road, by men in a white truck…I’ve come to believe that injustices exist because we, as a society, allow them to exist. Until the people [demand] better from our leaders, nothing will change, and Aboriginal girls will continue to go missing in record numbers, numbers that already concern the U.N.
Posted 1 year ago



"Our children keep being taken away from First Nation families in even greater numbers today than during the residential school era,” said Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations.

What’s happening? Experts estimate there are at least 27,000 aboriginal children who have been removed from their immediate families.

Legal action started in 2007, arguing child-welfare services on reserves received 22 per cent less funding than off-reserve services, even though the need was far greater. - The Canadian Press 

VERY SIMILAR to what is currently going on in South Dakota and other states.



Posted 1 year ago

Wasco [found glass fishnet float], Geoff Greene (Haida)


Wasco [found glass fishnet float], Geoff Greene (Haida)

Posted 1 year ago


Tiny Horrors: A Chilling Reminder of How Cruel Assimilation Was—And Is -



For such small objects, the child’s handcuffs are surprisingly heavy when cradled in the palms of one’s hand. Although now rusted from years of disuse, they still convey the horror of their brutal purpose, which was to restrain Native children who were being brought to boarding schools. “I felt the weight of their metal on my heart,” said Jessica Lackey of the Cherokee tribe as she described holding the handcuffs for the first time.

Lackey, an alumnus of Haskell Indian Nations University, was working at the school’s Cultural Center & Museum when the handcuffs were unwrapped last spring after being kept in storage for several years. I had heard rumors about the existence of the handcuffs during visits to Haskell over the years and had made numerous inquiries to school authorities about them, but people seemed very reluctant to discuss this touchy artifact. This past summer, however, Haskell agreed to allow a public viewing of the handcuffs. Andy Girty, one of the elders who first blessed the handcuffs when they were given to Haskell in 1989, helped unwrap them for me.

Known as the Haskell Institute in its early years, the school opened its doors in 1884. It was originally founded as an instrument of the final solution to this country’s “Indian problem”; Haskell Institute’s mission then was embodied in the now infamous motto of Captain Richard H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” This mind-set led to decades of forced acculturation through brutal military-style incarceration cloaked as education in U.S. Indian boarding schools.

Although begun as a model for assimilation, native students have, over the years, transformed Haskell into a model for self-determination. The school’s early curriculum featured training in domestic and farming skills but has since evolved into four-year university.

Haskell’s Cultural Center & Museum, located on campus, tells the full—and often cruel—story of Haskell’s painful past as well as providing a venue to showcase Native art, culture from the past and present. Opened in 2002, the center features the permanent exhibit Honoring Our Children Through Seasons of Sacrifice, Survival, Change and Celebration, featuring artifacts, photos and letters from the school’s early days.

Among the artifacts currently on display is

Andy Girty and Jessica Lackey
Andy Girty and Jessica Lackey

a heavy iron lock and key for the school jail, which held unruly students. Letters, photographs, copies of early school newspapers and daily menus are among the more commonplace artifacts of early daily life displayed at the museum. One display includes a heavy lock and key from the small on site jail used to punish unruly students. Soon, perhaps, the handcuffs will be included among these artifacts, adding its chilling testimony regarding the practices used by early educators to kill the Indian and save the child.

Not much is known about the diminutive handcuffs, which were donated to the Cultural Center in 1989 by a non-Indian man who described their use to Bobbi Rahder, former director of the Haskell Cultural Center & Museum. “He told us they were used to restrain captured Indian children who were being taken to boarding schools,” says Rahder. The middle-age white man said his father had the handcuffs for years but that he no longer wanted to have them in his possession. “He seemed relieved to get rid of them,” Rahder recalls.

I made many phone calls, but was unable to track down the man, who is said to have lived in Lawrence. According to Rahder, he failed to respond to messages they had left him over the years, and he has not been seen at Haskell since the day he brought the handcuffs to the Cultural Center. “It was all very vague. He didn’t tell us how his father came to have the handcuffs. He showed up one day and donated them to the Center,” she says.

Mysterious donations are common at the Cultural Center. Rahder has witnessed scores of non-Indian donors dropping off important—and often poignant—historical artifacts relating to Haskell. Last year, Roger Bollinger of Pennsylvania donated an 1880s leather-bound photo album containing photos and corresponding identifications of Haskell’s very first students in 1884. This album represents the only known identifiable photos from that inaugural class. Bollinger knew little of Haskell and had no idea how the album came to be in his family’s possession. A supporter of education and cultural understanding, he decided tom donate the album to Haskell.

The handcuffs, however, were different, notes Rahder, who took them from the man. “I was shocked and afraid to touch them,” she recalls.

She says she immediately contacted administrative and spiritual leaders at the school for guidance on handling the handcuffs. Leaders at Haskell were overwhelmed by the brutality of the tiny handcuffs, she noted.

Girty, of the Cherokee Nation, who is a Cherokee language instructor at Haskell and a number of other elders and leaders, conducted a modest ceremony the next day at the school’s medicine fire. His wife, Frances, of the Creek and Choctaw Nations, provided a tiny handmade quilt in which the handcuffs were reverently wrapped before being stored in the Cultural Center’s archives. The handcuffs remained in storage for more than 20 years.

Although the Cultural Center displays a number of artifacts related to the harsh treatment of early Indian students at Haskell, the handcuffs were simply too painful to be addressed, opined Rahder. She says elders blessed the handcuffs and instructed her to put them away. She did as she was told, trusting that students and faculty would one day decide on the appropriate treatment of this painful artifact. The handcuffs languished in the archives of the center until this past summer.

As word of the handcuffs began to leak out over the past few years, students and faculty began discussing the importance of acknowledging their existence and putting them on display. For whatever reason, no one at the school has been willing to take the lead in the handling of this powerful artifact, but with the approval of Haskell administration, Girty agreed to unwrap them for ICTMN.

For Lackey the handcuffs are a tangible example of the painful history between Native people and the U.S. “The history of our genocide has been so swept under the rug by the mainstream. People need to see the impact that these policies had on us,“ she  says.

According to Girty, who was a student at Haskell in 1959, there are many stories of the brutal means used by authorities to bring and keep students at school in its early days. For instance, reservation authorities would hold back Native families’ food rations if they refused to allow children to be sent to early boarding schools, he noted. “If those handcuffs could talk, they would tell some terrible stories,” he says.

Steve Prue, spokesman for Haskell, says there are no immediate plans regarding how the handcuffs will be presented to the public, nor how they will be displayed. He agrees with students that the handcuffs are an appropriate item to be included in displays of other Haskell artifacts at the Cultural Center. “It’s good to have these sorts of things on display in the Cultural Center,” he says. “They tell the story of who paid the price for us to be here now.”

Posted 1 year ago

Also, if we’re in the United States, we probably ought to also be doing more than just round dancing.


Canada’s closed it’s boarders to us so that Native people cant go to aid First Nations people in #idlenomore. 

But we ought to be putting pressure on the United States Government to get Harper to cease with bill C-45.

Folks in other countries ought to be doing this as well.  

Posted 1 year ago

Will Arson Attack Cause Holy War Between Born-Agains and Natives? -


The Big Drum house was so much more than a building—it contained the stories and memories of our people,” says Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe tribal member Jackie Cadotte. “Some remember sitting on their father’s laps during ceremonies there. I was just devastated when I found out it was burned.”

On the night of July 17 and early morning of July 18, six suspicious fires destroyed three traditional ceremonial structures on the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe (LCO) reservation in northern Wisconsin, and two other structures were also severely damaged. The destroyed buildings included a ceremonial lodge, historic home for generations of big drum ceremonies and two private sweat lodges. A big drum dance ring as well as a structure at the pow wow grounds, home of the long-running Honor the Earth pow wow was damaged. An RV that served as the residence for Paul DeMain, a longtime journalist on LCO, was completely destroyed, and the main building on his property, home to News From Indian Country was also partially burned.

Most of the burned structures were used for traditional ceremonies and healing, and DeMain says the message is clear: “Someone is attacking traditionalism in the community.”

Just a few weeks after the arson incidents, efforts to rebuild the Big Drum lodge were already moving forward. Watching the demolition of the remaining bits of the house, Cadotte fought back tears. “Maybe now we can begin healing and moving forward from this thing,” she said, adding that the burning of spiritual items and places is “like what the missionaries did to our people long ago.”

Christopher Grover, an LCO tribal member, was reportedly arrested not long after as a “person of interest” in the cases. Grover, 38, has ties to local evangelicals who embrace elements of a growing ideological movement that has been known to equate  traditional Native spirituality with a dangerous form of idolatry, even witchcraft. This idolatry, some believe, is responsible for the social ills in Indian country. This ideology is rooted in the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation movement (NAR), which has aggressively been targeting both mainstream denominational evangelical churches such as the Assemblies of God, as well as small nonaffiliated Christian evangelical groups. Some of these NAR-linked organizations present a benign front—such as pastor prayer networks or Christian reconciliation groups—and at the local level are sometimes presented as charitable organizations.

“But at the top level of leadership the message is very clear: All other religions systems are evil, under the control of specific demons, and must be converted or defeated,” says Rachel Tabachnick of the website Tabachnick is a researcher and writer on issues pertaining to the impact of the religious right on policy, politics, education, economics, environment and foreign policy. She describes the movement’s efforts as “stealth evangelism of other evangelicals.”

The Transformations video series has been described by some as a major promotional tool for the advancement of the NAR agenda; it has been seen by many members of the evangelical community, including one at the LCO Assemblies of God church where, Grover’s mother says, she, her son and her husband are members. The videos depict spiritual warriors taking control of communities by expelling demons that cause societal problems. After territorial demons are driven out and generational curses are removed, the communities are healed and experience a miraculous recovery from poverty, disease and other problems. The videos, produced by the Sentinel Group, a ministry group founded by George Otis Jr., are reportedly marketed as documentaries and depict reenactments of various indigenous people burning traditional religious items in order to free their community from demons.

Let the Sea Resound, a 2004 video from the Transformation series, draws a powerful connection between the destruction of traditional indigenous religious items on a Fijian island and subsequent eco-miracles, such as the sudden cleansing of a polluted stream.

The LCO Assemblies of God church is one of about a dozen small Christian congregations on the reservation. Pastor Marvin Wilber of the Menominee tribe and Debbie Wilber of the Oneida tribe of Wisconsin live on the reservation and have served the church and community for more than 30 years. They are well known and liked in the community for their annual summer Bible basketball camp, one of the few organized activities in the area for young people. Although they eschew the inclusion of any form of Native spirituality in their worship services, they say they respect those who practice traditional spirituality. “We don’t label the Midewiwin lodge as evil,” says Pastor Marvin Wilber.

Despite this claim of neutrality, however, Wilber says they have shown the Transformations videos. She seemed unaware of the strong message of demonization of traditional spirituality in the films and described them as simply “showing how prayer can positively change a community.”

The slick feel-good nature of the videos belies the aggressive message of intolerance for any spiritual practice that deviates from the NAR’s ideology of Dominionism, which has been described as the belief that Christians are designated by God to take dominion over every aspect of culture, government and politics in order to bring about the return of Jesus Christ.

Tabachnick writes about the increasingly militant language of such groups that uses military terminology. The Two Rivers Native American Training Center in Bixby, Oklahoma, headed by Jay Swallow, who has reportedly appeared at a ceremony performing ritual destruction of Native objects and Negiel Bigpond, who says he has destroyed merely symbolic objects, features Strategic Warriors at Training, “a Christian military base camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strongholds in America.”

During a recent interview, Bigpond was reluctant to discuss his role in the destruction of Native ritual objects, and described the acts as symbolic rather than literal. Although Bigpond does not advocate destruction of ritual objects owned by others, he did say, “Witchcraft is alive and well in Indian country, and it must be rooted out.”

Kathy Crone, Christopher Grover’s mother, speculates that her son may have believed that his troubles were the result of bad medicine being worked against him by others. She confesses, however, that she is “afraid to ask him” about this as a possible motivation for the arson.

She is not alone in her speculation. DeMain says investigators from the Wisconsin State Fire Marshall Office asked him if it would be possible for a member of the traditional Ojibwe Midewiwin lodge (of which DeMain is a member) to engage in witchcraft and/or put a curse on others. DeMain is an Oshkaabewis, or helper, in the lodge, akin roughly to a deacon in a Christian church. Practitioners of traditional Native spirituality are reluctant to answer such direct questions but it is widely believed that the power to curse is possible. Officials from the fire marshall’s office declined to comment about this line of questioning.

DeMain says he was shocked to hear that someone would think he possesses such potent powers. “If I was going to throw a curse on somebody, I’d choose Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker rather than some guy on the rez that I barely know,” he says with a laugh.

Grover was reportedly arrested as a person of interest, but has not been charged with any crimes relating to the fires, and shortly after his arrest, he was turned over to authorities in a neighboring county where he had jumped bail after being arrested for allegedly stealing a semitrailer weeks before. He entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for those charges. (Grover, through his lawyer, declined to be interviewed for this story.)

The Big Drum dance ring was also damaged in the attack. (Mary Annette Pember)
The Big Drum dance ring was also damaged in the attack. (Mary Annette Pember)

How Grover reportedly became a person of interest in connection with the cases of arson is a convoluted, confusing story. The day after the fires, his mother and stepfather turned him over to police after noticing that his hair and eyebrows were badly singed, says his mother. Jeff Crone, Grover’s stepfather, made an emotional speech during the Honor the Earth pow wow days after the arson, and apologized for his son’s participation in the crimes, according to several tribal members who were present; they report that Crone said his son had mental health issues. During his speech, Crone lamented the damage the fires might have on relations between the traditional and Christian communities, and called for forgiveness and healing. (Jeff Crone declined to be interviewed for this story.)

Grover’s mother says her son was struggling with an addiction to pain medication when the cases of arson occurred, and speculates that the withdrawal process may have triggered uncharacteristic aggressive behavior: She says her son is a good father to his six children and an essential member of the family who can always be counted on to help out.

According to Crone, shortly before the arson, her son tried to withdraw from pain medication cold turkey, on his own, and sought spiritual help from various evangelicals in the community. It was during this process that he was arrested in regards to the theft of a semi in next-door Washburn County. He was released on bond. On July 18, the day after the arson, his mother says that when he showed up at his parents’ home he had singed hair and eyebrows.

Grover has not confessed to any connection with the arson.

The Lac Courte Oreilles tribe has reportedly asked the FBI for help in investigating the cases of arson. Reportedly, neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Western District of Wisconsin would comment but a spokesman for the FBI did confirm that tribal officials have requested help in investigating the case. The FBI spokesman confirmed that the U.S. Attorney’s office is reviewing the case and will determine if there are any federal violations.

According to a November 12 story by WQOW, an ABC affiliate in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, officials from the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that they have identified a “person of interest” but are waiting for test results from the state crime lab before making any decisions to pursue prosecution.

The lack of public information about the investigation is frustrating to many in the community, and Cadotte says many members are hurt and angry. Word has leaked out about the possible connection between witchcraft and traditional spirituality as a motive for the arson. Cadotte was shocked to learn that some evangelicals have been said to liken traditional spiritual practices to witchcraft: “We had absolutely no idea that these people felt so strongly against our traditions. We minded our own business; we weren’t harming anyone; we never tried to influence anyone to follow our ways or suggested that any other religion was wrong.”

The fires at LCO have sparked concern and debate among members as they realize they are not fully informed about the spiritual beliefs and practices of their neighbors. Overall, in Indian country, where politeness discourages direct questioning regarding spirituality, people are beginning to have

Gordon Thayer (Mary Annette Pember)
Gordon Thayer (Mary Annette Pember)

some difficult discussions regarding religious practices and beliefs.

On a broader level, the events on LCO call attention to a burgeoning movement of fundamentalist evangelical Christian groups who view traditional Native spirituality as not only heretical but also a dangerous form of idolatry or witchcraft. Members of these churches and ministries believe they are warriors engaged in spiritual warfare against forces of evil that prevent Native peoples and others from following Jesus Christ.

The movement drew national attention in 2008 when it was revealed that former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had been a member of an Alaskan Assemblies of God church. A YouTube video shows Palin being anointed by a prominent apostolic network witch-hunter from Kenya, Thomas Muthee. In the video, Muthee calls on Jesus to protect Palin from witchcraft. Muthee has gained fame among churches and groups with links to NAR by claiming to have liberated his village from evil forces by spiritually defeating a local witch.

People with links to the NAR have reportedly conducted ceremonies and prayer meetings that feature the ritual destruction of Native “artifacts’ symbolizing traditional religion. Bruce Wilson of Talk2Action, a website dedicated to challenging the claims of the religious right, published what he says is an archived report by International Coalition of Apostles member Tom Schlueter in which he describes a ceremony in Olney, Texas in 2007 during which apostles—including Jay Swallow, Cheyenne-Sioux—smashed “Native American matrimonial vases” representing the demon powers of Baal and Leviathan.

Journalists with Right Wing Watch and Talk2Action have researched links between the beginnings of the federal Native American Apology resolution and the New Apostolic Reformation movement. The resolution, which was attached to a defense appropriations bill in 2010, stated in part that “the United States, acting through Congress…recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes.”

According to an interpretation of Dominionist ideology, the Native American Apology is a first step in removing demons that prevent Native peoples from accepting Christ. Some people linked to NAR publicize such “reconciliation” efforts while downplaying their ultimate goal of removing generational curses that they believe are actual demons inhabiting certain ethnic populations such as Native Americans.

C. Peter Wagner is considered to be the founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, but he says he is just the first to observe and name it. Wagner, theologian and missionary, was a former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission for 30 years and has published several books about Dominionism and spiritual warfare. On his Global Spheres website, he describes the movement as the “most radical way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation.”

The New Apostolic Movement has Pentecostal and charismatic origins. Forrest Wilder, a writer with the Texas Observer, an online news site, describes the movement as having “taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.” He says the group’s bizarre beliefs are relatively unremarkable except for their interest in controlling government and politics.

The movement’s apostles and prophets, Wilder reports, believe they have a direct connection to God, who communicates specific warnings and instructions to them. For instance, NAR followers believe mankind’s failure to heed God’s warnings resulted in the recent devastating earthquakes in Japan, the terrorist attacks in New York City as well as the recent economic downturns. Wagner has said he “made an apostolic proclamation in the name of the Lord, that mad cow disease in Europe would immediately stop.”

Tabachnick and her team offer compelling evidence regarding the influence of NAR ideology into both right-leaning evangelical denominations as well as nondenominational para-church organizations.

In 2000, the Assemblies of God, a major evangelical Pentecostal denomination, took a public stand against Dominionism. According to the Texas Observer article, they labeled the idea that the church is to take dominion over earthly institutions “unscriptural triumphalism.” Now, however, some Assemblies of God churches offer assistance and access to groups that have been linked with the New Apostolic Reformation.

“This is a movement growing in popularity, and one of the ways they’ve been able to do that is because they’re not very identifiable to most people. They present themselves as nondenominational or just Christian-but the New Apostolic Reformation is an identifiable movement with an identifiable ideology,” Tabachnick says. “Nondenominational should not be confused with interdenominational, which indicated an openness to accepting other faiths.”

DeMain displays the few possessions that survived (including his pipe) after his RV was torched. (Mary Annette Pember)
DeMain displays the few possessions that survived (including his pipe) after his RV was torched. (Mary Annette Pember)

Andrea Smith, of Cherokee descent, is a professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances. She says the splinter evangelical groups are very fluid in their affiliations, often changing details of their ideologies, sometimes collaborating with other more militant Christian groups on short-term projects, not necessarily in total agreement with each other’s ideologies.

For the people at LCO, the fires have prompted an urgent discussion about religion, spirituality and culture throughout Indian country.

Several born-again-Christian Native people interviewed for this story insist that they are not any “less Indian” because they eschew Native spiritual practices. “Culture is made up of many things, including language, foods and traditional dress. Those things are part of who I am. Those things, however, that are in conflict with the word of God, I have to reconsider,” says John E. Maracle, of the Mohawk tribe and chief-president of the Native American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God.

Andrea Smith observes, however, that for Native peoples, culture and spirituality cannot be separated; they are a part of everyday life. The notion of respecting Native culture while simultaneously condemning spirituality, she notes, contributes to a practice that inevitably pits Native Christians against Native traditionalists.

Grover’s mother and pastor say he is a member of the Assemblies of God church. People in this Pentecostal denomination are evangelical and believe in speaking in tongues, a more literal interpretation of the Bible and personal conversion, commonly known as being born again. Like other evangelical Christian denominations, the Assemblies of God believes in a literal second coming of Christ when, many believe, those who are not saved will be subject to eternal damnation. In a 1999 position statement by the Native American Fellowship of the Assemblies of God, the church forbids any attempt to mix Native religious practices that are contrary to scripture with Christianity. Native religious cultural practices must be avoided, including the use of tobacco in prayer or burning of sage. Native dances, instruments, songs, regalia and language may be used only to express worship with the Lord.

Like many evangelical Christian groups, the LCO Assemblies of God church routinely works on community projects and mission efforts with similarly minded nondenominational groups such as On Eagle’s Wings ministry, the organization that helped inspire the LCO Safety Center. The LCO Assemblies of God church coordinates its summer basketball Bible camp activities with the work of the Safety Center, offering summer activities for reservation youth. LCO has had a long-standing problem with gangs, so the Safety Center and the Bible summer camp fill a void in LCO, providing safe, structured activities on a reservation where such programs are few and far between. Assemblies of God vans scurry throughout the reservation on summer days, picking up and dropping youth off at their homes. Youngsters and teens swarmed over the makeshift basketball court in the church’s parking lot during a recent visit. Members of a visiting Christian youth mission group served healthy snacks such as apples and oranges and provided plenty of water as well as a full lunch. A CD player blared Christian music in the background, exalting Jesus.

According to a tribal member who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution from tribal leadership, the programming at the Safety Center puts a strong emphasis on evangelical proselytizing. “I have heard many of our youth complain about the heavy handed Christian message and indicate they are not comfortable at the Center,” said this person.

According to Tabachnick, many ministries emphasize the progressive nature of their programming—such as recovery from drugs and alcohol or rehab work—but skeptics claim their ultimate goal is to gain access to communities for the purpose of proselytizing. As local governments become more and more strapped for cash, they may not look too hard at offers to help address social problems in their communities.

She adds that most Americans know nothing about the agenda of the Christian right and typically brush off concerns about their activities, dismissing them as backward. Many people who are linked to the New Apostolic Reformation movement, however, are very sophisticated, she says. “They have developed a community organizing agenda that is incredible and is working very well for them.”

In interviews and online “spiritual testimony” LCO Tribal Chairman Gordon Thayer provides a powerful, heartfelt description of his struggles with the dark powers of traditional spirituality and his recovery from addiction. For a population that has been devastated by drugs and alcohol, his story presents a powerful case. Born and raised on LCO by family who followed traditional Ojibwe spirituality, he makes no secret of his decision to “put aside” his traditional items and ways. A 2001 article in World Magazine tells of him “burning his Native American spirit paraphernalia.” He says traditional medicine men worked witchcraft on him, bringing spirits who threatened to kill him. While in the hospital after a heart attack, however, he says he was released from the torment of these spirits after choosing to follow only Jesus Christ. Then, and only then, he declares, was he able to overcome his long-standing alcoholism. He has since dedicated his life to helping others recover from addiction, running recovery services through his Overcomers Outreach Ministries in Minneapolis.

Tabachnick says that in 2004 Thayer was listed on the United States Strategic Prayer Network of Minnesota, which are now referred to as Prayer Warrior networks. He also has ties to groups such as Craig Smith’s Tribal Rescue Ministries, which has ties to the Christian and Missionaries Alliance, which also has links to the New Apostolic Reformation. Smith was also involved in founding the On Eagle’s Wings ministry. Thayer was elected as chairman in 2011 and does not take a salary for his work, preferring instead to dedicate the money to reservation youth and other social programming.

Many tribal members, especially those whose personal property was targeted in the July incidents, are wondering if these were the acts of a single disturbed individual or was it a coordinated effort by those opposed to traditional spiritual practices. An uneasy calm has settled over the reservation. People are going on with the business of living but some are keeping a wary eye on their fellow community members.

LCO tribal member Gary Quaderer says it had never entered his mind that someone might burn down his sweat lodge. “That’s where I go to pray,” he says. “It’s like my church.”

DeMain, who normally would have been sleeping in the RV that was destroyed, believes the perpetrator—or perpetrators—meant to kill him. He notes that five gallons of gasoline were dumped on the ground at the entrance to his RV.

If Grover did, indeed, commit the crimes, it is not known if he acted alone or what ultimately spurred such a coordinated attack. “How could one man do all this so quickly, in just one hour?” says Quaderer, pointing out that the various locations torched are miles apart and not easily accessible from the road.

Thayer hopes that eventually the community will forgive whoever was responsible for the arson and come to a healing, rather than letting the events further divide people because of their faiths. “It will take time to heal,” he says.

DeMain and Cadotte say that the attack has strengthened their spirituality. As DeMain sifted through the ashes of his home, he uncovered few objects still intact, but he did find his two ceremonial pipes. “My faith has been fully endorsed,” he said. “My pipes and I made a grand entry at Honor the Earth pow wow.”

Cadotte added: “Although they destroyed our building, they didn’t destroy our faith.”

Posted 1 year ago


AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES: Split Feathers Study by Carol Locus (Cherokee)

Split Feathers… Adult American Indians who were placed in Non-Indian Families as Children

By Carol Locust, Cherokee Nation [Reprinted with the permission of the National Indian Child Welfare Association Inc., published in Pathways, September / October 1998, Volume 13, Number 4.]

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 was designed specifically to stop the wholesale removal of Indian children from their families, which had contributed to the destruction of the traditional extended family structures and Indian community life for over a century. A follow-up study in 1980 by the Colorado Indian Law Review revealed that the Act only slowed the removal of children but did not stop it as the Act was intended to do. Tribal leaders called upon the Supreme Court to assure enforcement of the ICWA until amendments could be made to the Act to tighten loopholes through which many Indian children are still being snatched. At this writing (1998), the amendments have not been made.

The pilot study conducted by this investigator indicated that every Indian child placed in a non-Indian home for either foster care or adoption is placed at great risk of long-term psychological damage as an adult. There is, however, a lack of sufficient research dedicated specifically to the investigation of this issue. Data supporting the statement of at risk adult American Indian adoptees come from the Congressional Hearings pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (1978). Essentially, the issue of the adult Indian who was placed in a non-Indian home as a child has not been addressed. The literature that does exist on adult Indians who have experienced out-of-culture placements as children, including the preliminary study conducted by this investigator on which this article is based, indicates that nineteen (19) out of twenty (20) Indian adoptees have psychological problems related to their placement in non-Indian homes.

The study determined that there are unique factors of Indian children being placed in non-Indian homes, that create damaging effects in the later lives of the children.

This study has revealed that:

• placing American Indian children in foster/ adoptive non-Indian homes puts them at great risk for experiencing psychological trauma that leads to the development of long-term emotional and psychological problems in later life

• the cluster of long-term psychological liabilities exhibited by American Indian adults who experienced non-Indian placement as children may be recognized as a syndrome (Syndrome: a set of symptoms, which occur together. From Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 24th edition, 1965.)

The Split Feather Syndrome appears to be related to a reciprocal-possessive form of belongingness unique to survivors of cultures that have faced annihilation.

The Split Feathers themselves have identified the following factors as major contributors to the development of the syndrome, in order of their importance:

1. the loss of Indian identity

2. the loss of family, culture, heritage, language, spiritual beliefs, tribal affiliation and tribal ceremonial experiences

3. the experience of growing up being different

4. the experience of discrimination from the dominant culture

5. a cognitive difference in the way Indian children receive, process, integrate and apply new information—in short, a difference in learning style

Other contributing factors included physical, sexual and mental abuse from adoptive family members; loss of birth brothers and sisters; uncaring or abusive foster/adoptive families; not being told anything or being lied to about their adoption; not being given advanced notice of moves; too many moves; nobody to talk to; loss of personal property.

The following sections will explore the five major factors listed above that contribute to the development of the Split Feather Syndrome.

The Loss of Indian Identity

The loss of American Indian identity appears to be one of the most important factors in the development of the Split Feather Syndrome. The data indicate that the loss of the Indian identity is not the same as the loss of personal identity, although it included the personal aspect. Additionally, however, is the loss of belonging to one’s real culture.

Almost all of the respondents indicated a defiant, almost fierce pride in being an American Indian. When questioned about what the Indian identity was, the responses repeated most frequently were “I belong to that tribe;” “That is my tribe.” The individual belonged to the tribe, and the tribe likewise belonged to him or her, a reciprocal possessiveness of cultural identity which may be found in members of other cultures who have undergone great grieving, such as the survivors of the Holocaust.

The belongingness of tribal identity also seemed to embody the reason for one’s being “different,” the roots of ancestral pride, the foundations of mystical beliefs and tenets and, as one respondent wrote, “the drums that thunder in my blood.” The Indian identity, in those terms, meant much more than personal or family identity. It became the totality of the person’s existence without which he or she was nothing.

The Loss of Family, Culture, Heritage, Language, Spiritual Beliefs, Tribal Affiliation And Tribal Ceremonial Experiences

The reciprocal possessiveness of the factors listed above (loss of family, culture, heritage, etc.) indicated that Split Feathers not only felt a loss of these “possessions” because they were his or hers by birthright, but also that the individual was the “possession” of the things identified here. For example, not only did the individuals mourn the loss of their families, but they also mourned their families’ loss of them as well. The loss of their biological family, extended family, clan and tribe was an unending grief for the respondents, a grief that spawned deep-seated resentment and hatred for the adoption system.

Their biological relatives belonged to them, and they belonged to their relatives, a belongingness that connected the adoptees with relatives, clan members and tribal members. They could see in other Indians a reflection of themselves, a fact that satisfied the human need to be like those around them.

The loss of culture, heritage and language seemed to encompass the total lifestyle that the respondents had missed. One said, “I was supposed to have a naming ceremony when I was two years old, and I didn’t get it. I don’t have a name. How can I go back to my tribe if I don’t have a name?” Another wrote, “Somebody said that we could learn all we needed to learn about our culture and heritage from books and videos from our school. What a laugh! What we got was a watered down, Indian-style-Sesame-Street version of what some white person thought all Indians were like.”

All of the Split Feathers said they read books, watched TV shows and saw movies about Indians when they were children. No matter what the plot of the story, they championed the Indians, even when John Wayne was on the winning side, even, the majority said, when the Indians were portrayed as brutal savages, drunks or dirty thieves. Their feeling toward real life Indians was not any different.

“They told me my parents were alcoholics and that I was lucky to be out of the home,” one respondent said. “But I don’t feel that way. Poor Mom, poor Dad, maybe I could have helped some way. I’ll never know. I never had the chance to find out. Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to stay or not, they just drove up one day and took me. My mother had this horrible, disbelieving look on her face. I never saw her again.”

Despite the negative portrayal of Indian people in the media and in most non-Indian people’s minds, the respondents were proud to be Indian.

Many of them had been told horror stories about their birth families, which always ended with “aren’t you glad you came to live with us?” The fact was that most of the stories expounded on the negative aspects – rather than the positive aspects – of the biological families and were twisted versions of the truth or were outright lies. None of the respondents said they were “glad” about their adoptive placement.

Tribal spirituality seemed to transcend the adoptive experience. All of the respondents regarded themselves as being spiritual, either in an organized church, a personal religious way or in their tribal belief system. Of the twenty respondents, Fourteen reported having extrasensory experiences from childhood, ranging from knowing about things before they happened, having dreams that came true, knowing what someone else was thinking and being able to communicate with animals. Seventeen of the respondents said they had actively sought more information about their tribal traditional beliefs, hoping to find explanations for the mystical experiences in their lives or learn more about their own tribal beliefs.

Most of the respondents viewed tribal ceremonial experiences as an integral part of spirituality. While eleven of the twenty had been able to experience at least one tribal ceremony, nine had not had the opportunity. Thirteen of the twenty had attended at least one Indian pow-wow or celebration, while seven had been denied the privilege but expressed optimism about attending one in the future. Four of them had taken part in sweats. One of the twenty said he was allowed to attend Indian celebrations as a child.

Re-entry into the culture took place after the Split Feathers had reclaimed their Indian identity. Sixteen of the 20 respondents said they were ignorant or knew very little about traditional ceremonies that they’d missed over the years, although four of them knew about several of their tribal customs and traditions associated with ceremonies. All of them felt they had been robbed of the ceremonies that other tribal children were given but that they had never experienced. All 20 of them said they had several pieces of Indian art, such as jewelry, pottery, basketry or such that held a ceremonial meaning for them.

One individual had been given a ceremonial eagle feather. Tribal affiliation – being enrolled in a tribe – was a serious subject for all 20 of the Split Feathers. Sixteen of them had had their enrollment cancelled when they were adopted into non-Indian homes. The names of four had remained on tribal rolls. At the time of this study, six of them had two sets of birth records, one of Indian ancestry bearing their birth names and family names, and another set bearing their adoptive names. The one respondent who had not yet found his Indian identity had been searching archival records for years trying to locate some clue to his tribal affiliation.

“Those pieces of paper – the adoption papers – took away my Indian rights,” another respondent wrote.

“Those papers took away my entitlement to my land settlement money, my right to live on tribal land, to vote in tribal elections, to apply for tribal scholarships, my right to be an Indian. My birthright was stolen from me. But they could not take away the fact that I was an Indian. I burned those papers. I hated them.”

Growing Up Being Different
In describing what they meant by being “different,” the Split Feathers used such words as dark skin, black hair, dark eyes and “the Indian look.” Besides physical differences they also included having different philosophical concepts, even though most of them had been adopted too young to have learned any tribal philosophy. The fourteen respondents who said that they had extrasensory experiences felt that this ability made them even more different. The differences made them feel alienated from other people. All of the Split Feathers said that they were extremely self-conscious. Some were painfully shy and withdrawn as children; others became belligerent and aggressive. Being different also included the concepts that non-Indians had of them, e.g., Indians had certain traits (stoic, brave), behaved certain ways (never showed emotion, spoke very little), had certain knowledge inherent in their blood (when it was going to rain, herbal remedies). These imposed expectations were burdensome to most of the Split Feathers, who felt guilty because they could not fulfill them. One respondent said it made her feel like a “fake” Indian because she could not fit the stereotype of “Indian”. Nine of the twenty respondents said that they felt frustrated and angry because of the unfair expectations placed on them, while the opportunities to be all that was expected of them as “Indians” had been taken away.

One respondent wrote, “Being different was horrible, like being a freak. At the same time I was proud. Feeling horrible and proud about the same thing splits your brain apart. You hate what it does to you.”

Although being different created major psychological problems for the Split Feathers, it was also a source of intense pride.

Experiencing Discrimination from the Dominant Culture

All twenty of the respondents in the random sample experienced some degree of discrimination. Words used to describe the cause of discrimination were “being dark,” “being Indian,” and “not being white,” discrimination came from adults as well as children and occurred within the adoptive families; from relatives and neighbors; and at schools, churches and social functions. The average age when “knowing I was different” began at three years of age; the average age when discrimination began to be a serious problem for the respondents was 11 years. Puberty was a traumatic time for all the respondents when they learned that their limited acceptance in the non-Indian world did not include dating white youth. Thirteen of the 20 reported some amount of alienation from their adoptive families during this period, from hostility to acting out rage and running away. The estrangement increased as the adoptees reached young adulthood. “I asked a girl to dance with me at a junior high party. Her brother dragged me outside and beat me up, told me no dirty Indian was going to get close to his sister,” one respondent wrote. Another respondent wrote that as a young girl she never got asked out on dates. Her adopted mother told her to “go find yourself an Indian.” That was the first time she realized that she was not being asked out because of her race.

Discrimination was also felt in the work force as well as in the social realm when “Split Feathers reached adulthood. Jobs often went to less qualified non-Indians. Promotions were slow in coming, infrequent or denied. One respondent stated that he felt employers never really trusted him because he looked so “Indian” and that his appearance was against him in obtaining employment. Another wrote, “I had just gone through the alcohol rehab program. I was pleased that I had been sober for three months. In the program I had the opportunity to do a sweat, and I really hung on to that experience, to that little bit of the Indian world. Then I went to the state VR office to get help in finding a job. They told me to cut my hair. My long hair was the only part of me that I could claim as my heritage. I said I wouldn’t cut it. They said forget about working, no one would hire me looking like a wild Indian, only if I looked tame.”

Cognitive Differences in the Way Indian Children Receive, Process, Integrate and Apply New Information (A Difference in Learning Style)

Based on the Split Feather testimonies, it would appear that American Indians have a cognitive process different from non-Indians. While all 20 of them said that they felt that they were average or above in intelligence, half of them had spent time in remedial education programs in school. Five respondents had been labeled as Learning Disabled.

Two were classified as “slow learners.” All of them had failed at least one grade in school. The reasons for academic problems were given in episodes. “I just couldn’t learn like all the other kids. The teacher talked too much, too many words. I learned better through my eyes.”

“When I was in the fifth grade I got punished in front of the whole class for not remembering the capital city of Wyoming. That’s when I decided to learn my own way, not theirs. I worked out my own strategy all by myself. My adopted family didn’t know what I was doing so they couldn’t help me…I kept thinking either there’s something wrong with my brain or theirs, because our brains don’t work the same way when it comes to learning. And since I was the only Indian in the class, I figured out that there was something wrong with my brain. It was frustrating; I hated school. I could learn okay, and fast outside school, but in my school lessons I had to do it their way, not mine. And I failed.”

Reading was the most difficult subject for the Split Feathers. Surprisingly, math was not that difficult.

“Numbers are logical,” said one respondent. The overall picture of the educational success of the Split Feather group was rather dismal, however. The inability to absorb information in the same manner as the other children engendered failure for them, and failure begat more failure, poor self-esteem and often either withdrawal or aggression. Frustrations in elementary school led to difficult junior high school years and early drop-out rates in high school. Of the 20 respondents, only five completed a high school degree. Of the other 15, one went into the military, three were in correctional facilities, four got married and the other seven entered the job market with little or varying degrees of success.
Later in their lives, six of them had either taken college courses or attended advanced training for job placement. None of them described themselves as a success. Although one respondent said he was “doing all right.”

The Effects of Reclaimed Indian Identity on the Split Feathers

For nineteen of the 20 individuals in this preliminary study (one had not yet found his tribe nor his tribal identity), repatriation or reclamation of their tribal identity was described as a rebirth experience. Although fear of not being accepted was a major personal problem, and threats of being disowned came from adoptive parents, all of them said they were glad they had pursued their quests to find out who they were.

Descriptors used for the experience were: “I felt whole for the first time in my life.”

“Thank God I finally know who I am!” “I finally found what I am, what is part of me, what I am part of.” “I found the missing part of me and put it back in place. Now I can really be alive.”

“I found where I really belonged, my place, my home, my true identity.”

When asked how they felt about rejoining a cultural group that was frequently described in degrading terms (drunk Indians, lazy, dirty, stupid) and against which there were many racist, bigoted and prejudiced people, not one of the Split Feathers said they would change their minds. From their responses, it appeared that social, economic and cultural labels had no impact whatever on their repatriation decisions. Most of them said they began helping their birth families and relatives as soon as they found out who they were.

They received tribal teachings in return, a reciprocal process that satisfied the needs of the whole family.

Eighteen of the nineteen respondents who had reclaimed their Indian identity said their personal lives had changed dramatically for the better after the reclamation. A good description of the change, written by one respondent, reads, “The weight of hurting, loneliness, anger and sorrow I carried all those years was dropped, and my soul could soar.”

Another said, “It’s like I was blind, stumbling through life looking for myself, and now – now I can see.”

The respondents used the following statements to indicate the profound change in their psychological health, in order of how often the were repeated

• decrease in depressive feelings
• decrease in alcohol and drug abuse
• decrease in aggressive behaviours
• increase in self-esteem
• feelings of love, joy, generosity, sympathy, understanding
• feelings of finding a purpose in life
• increase in spiritual activities
 increase in days worked (working more regularly, finding a job, and getting a better job)

Other changes mentioned were
• spending more time with my own family
• spending leisure time constructively
• making a commitment to carry through with my responsibilities
• paying more attention to the needs of other people
• learning more about my tribe and my spiritual beliefs
• going back to school to get my GED
• taking care of myself
• looking at the sky instead of the dirt (dreaming dreams again)
• smiling a lot more often

About the author: Carol Locust is Training Director for the Native American Research and Training Center at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Her work involves counseling and employment issues with people with disabilities. She also works with traditional medicine and ceremonies as a part of current healing practices. Carol is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation.

In their own words… What Split Feathers say

“They gave me everything a child could ever ask for, except my Native American identity. All my years growing up in school I was cut down and made fun of because I was Indian. I was darker, had dark hair, and I was ‘different.’ I grew up resenting who I was, what I was; of course I kept all the shame to myself, therefore building resentment. I am waiting now for enrollment in my tribe and waiting to establish contact with my biological family. I wish I had grown up being proud – like I am proud today.”

“My foster mother was very abusive. She always said we were dirty because we were dark. She beat us often, made our noses bleed. But the worst thing she did was denying us our Indian heritage. Courts should never let anything like this happen. Indian children need to be with Indian families, not white families that are so different from Indian.”

“Adoption causes such intense inner pain that you do anything just to get away from it. No one understands you, you are different, and there’s no one to talk to. You withdraw into yourself, keep it all inside. That’s how I got into trouble with alcohol: it was pain medicine.”

“I was adopted at age four, started school just before five, grew up in a middle class family that was okay. But I started having dreams about age five about being taken away (from the adoptive home), taken back to my family, by Indians. My family didn’t pay much attention to the Indian spirit within me, or to me, either. I communicated more with animals than I did people. In the sixth grade I started having problems with the other kids. Whites, Mexicans and others didn’t like me because of being Indian. I got into lots of fights and became a loner.”

“I am 72 years old. I was adopted into a white family at age one-and-a-half when my mother died. I realized I was different before I ever went to school. When I asked, my foster parents told me I was Indian, and from that day I identified with Indians, because that was what I was. I didn’t know who I was, and that heartache and anguish has been with me for nearly 70 years. I hope your study can help me find out who I am before I die. I don’t want to die not knowing my true identity. They (the government) sealed my birth certificate so I could never find my identity and never see my blood relatives. The pain of this is never ending.”

Posted 1 year ago

The Annual Halloween PSA to Moniyaw Who Didn’t Learn Last Year,


      For the most part I have been staying out of the ‘native’ tags on Tumblr because they give me a migraine, but I ventured there and it was a dark pit of racist despair.  Then I thought to myself, “why in hell is there such an influx of dumb ass people?” then I remembered, “oh yeah, Halloween.”  That special time of year where NDNs everywhere grit their teeth and close the blinds, because it’s just a matter of time before you see some person with a chicken feather headdress and acrylic war paint smeared across their rosy cheeks.  Now, dear, Moniyaw, I want to veer away from the usual “wow that’s really racist and disrespectful you really shouldn’t put on that faux buckskin bustier and buy that plastic tomahawk” and I really want you to look at the picture of this woman:

Take a good, long look into her eyes.  

Now I want you to look at these women:

The first image of a murdered Saulteux woman named Pamela George, she was dispossessed of her land in Saskatchewan and moved into Regina where she worked as a sex worker to provide for her children.  She was brutally sexually asaulted and murdered by two white college aged males.  Those other women?  Those are some of the missing and murdered Indigenous women who have been assaulted  and murdered on the streets of Vancouver.  Not pictured here, is a Cree woman who the news papers called ‘A Squaw named Rosalie’.  She is another Native woman who was murdered by a white guy.  

Now, what do the tragic murders of these women have to do with your Halloween costume?

Every thing. 

You see, when you dress up as this:


or even this:

You are not only being disrespectful and racist, you are aiding in the sexualization and devaluing of Native women’s bodies.  This is a stereotype Indigenous women have been battling since contact.  The bodies of Indigenous women have been Settler men’s playgrounds for centuries, not because Indigenous women wanted it, but because of the power they exerted/exert over us.  Historically, governments would withhold rations for reserves until they obtained access to the bodies of Native women, the Northwest Mounted Police (pre:RCMP police force in Canada) would turn their backs when Indigenous women would tell them what was happening, sometimes even exploiting starving families for their own access.  You see, the sexualization and devaluing of Indigenous women has been a ploy for dispossession and domination by the Settler-Colonial state in order to gain access to our lands, our resources and destroy our communities.  The branding of Indigenous women as ‘whores’, ‘licentious’, ‘squalid’ aided in the formation of the stigma and stereotypes that still haunt and influence the everyday lives of Native women.  These costumes are a continuation of this.  These costumes are a product of this ideology: the same ideology that allowed white men to have their way with Native girls since the 19th Century.  When you put your body into the costume, the identity, of a ‘sexy Indian princess’ you are perpetuating the same idea, you are aiding in the continued sexualization of Indigenous women, the same devaluing.  This devaluing of the bodies of Native women is what allowed the murderers of Pamela George to be given a minimum sentence, because they were young white men with a future, and she was nothing but a ‘Native prostitute’.  This perpetuation of this ‘squalid squaw’ stereotype, is the reason that those missing and murdered women go unrecognised and unoticed by the general public and the cops that were supposed to protect them.  When you wear these costumes, there are real life consequences that effect the lives of Indigenous women everywhere.  When you put on those costumes, you are allowing the continued dispossession  domination, assault, sexualization, disrespect, racialization, and colonization of Indigenous women and Indigenous communities.

All I am asking you, dear fellow Halloween-goer, is to think critically before you wear your costume.  And if you choose to wear your racist costume, when someone calls you out on it, listen.  Even if you think it is ruining your night to sit there and listen to a person tell you why you are hurting them.  Because I can guarantee that they only ruined your night, but you ruined so much more.