Native Americans and (Not So) Ironic Political Rhetoric

United Statesians–across time and place and without regard to political spectrums–have a very unusual relationship with those 50-100 million individuals who have been subjectively homogenized and called Native American, Indians, and/or Indigenous Peoples and who were living on the lands currently called North America and South America. 




As the march of “civilization” spread West, those with both good and bad intentions contributed to physical and cultural annihilation of these peoples. We never hear about or read about the people who lived and worked here before the beginning of European colonization….unless, it is to make a political statement seeming for and from these individuals or to have the appearance of learning about the past.

Take a look at the following:

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If these indigenous peoples actually made such statements and seemingly had the desire or power to enforce these statements, you know as well as I know that the United States would squash it before it even started and the annihilation of these people would only continue – lessons from the past tell us this, as well.   

So when you see or share such an image, remember that this political rhetoric and iconography takes one of the weakest groups and has the appearance of giving them a voice but a completely inauthentic, unwelcome voice should it actually be from Native Americans. Additionally, many of these images have Native Americans dressed in stereotypical clothing that in no way actually reflects what most wore daily. 

See also: Katy Perry and Neo-Blackface 

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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6 replies

  1. It’s the final picture — the one of non-native-American children [In Canada, we use the term First Nations for the people who were here before the Europeans arrived (and arrived, and arrived)] with their false garb of headdress — that bothers me the most. The other photos chosen are memes or political cartoons with the overt politicization and message overtly displayed. But this other message — that somehow observing a single holiday (Thanksgiving, I’m guessing) by telling a mythical story of sharing, making construction-paper headdresses … why do we do that? Is this some attempt at teaching values such as honor and respect for “others” unlike ourselves? Do schools from Connecticut to Arizona make these cheap imitations of headdresses? And if so, what do Native American children think when schools do this? What do their parents think when they bring those headdresses home?

    Do we attempt to imitate any other non-European culture with such an obvious display of anthropological clothing ignorance — an ignorance of ritual, rhetorical context, etc? Do we do something during Black History Month like this? During Hispanic Heritage Month? March as Irish Heritage Month is another embarrassing display of ignorance of culture in too many respects. Do schools honor LGBT month in October in any fashion positive or embarrassingly negative?

    Of course, the ultimate reason teachers have students make silly construction-paper headdresses in November is not to respect and honor history, heritage, difference, and sameness, but it’s busy-work, with no educational purpose at all. I know that. But, I’d rather see children go running and learn some new physical education skills than continue this sham of historical observance.

    Two cents. Dos centavos. Deux centimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Word. You said it all around.

      It’s as if “dressing like” an Indian is a weird acceptable kind of “black face.”
      Our relationship and understanding of these “First Nation” peoples is so very strange. And not at all parallel to other holidays you mention.

      It’s all similar to the Plantation Day stuff too.



  2. I really enjoyed this post.

    What are your thoughts on videos such as these?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tim.

      I think that’s a pretty powerful video; although, it seems like they were speaking past each other in may ways. The strong language used by the man doesn’t help his position per se but to him the US flag is saying the same thing. What do you think about the video?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think his message is power, but how he presents it isn’t. Yelling as your strolling your kid around really doesn’t set a good example for yourself.

      Liked by 1 person


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