NO YOU’RE NOT CHEROKEE AND GRAMNA WASN’T A PRINCESS
My Heritage is Not Your Fashion Trend
Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture. Cultural appropriation is harmful because it is an extension of centuries of racism, genocide, and oppression.
The appropriation of native cultures is therefore a discriminatory practice that is not understood as such by those that think of assimilation as a positive process.. Cultural assimilation has been resisted for 500 years. Many of traditional schools of thought believe the societal values brought over from Europe were dangerous. Turns out they were and are right in many ways. Materialism, superficial spirituality and warped religions that are used to justify atrocities, greed, ego, disregard for the land, and by extension of that, life.
One disturbing, and in quite a few cases, deadly trends, is the blending of native american spirituality with a new age bastardized version of cultural practices. Practices with thousands of years of significance. Stolen, the truth about the ceremonies and practices warped, full of half truths and misrepresented. Many white people have claimed native lineage and used it to make money. 1. These ceremonies are never done for money, donations, gifts or gain. Ever!!! 2. The physical and mental preparation for a sweat lodge ceremony is very important. It can kill you, as happened to some '’native heritage tourists’' that went to one of the plastic shamans making fake claims. Our sacred objects used as a trend and fad. Like the headdress of the plains tribes. Wearing a headdress is like wearing a soldiers purple heart for a fashion statement.
Then we have the fraud tribes like the central and northern Cherokee. They are not Cherokee. They take our ceremonies and turn them into a goddam fair with plastic tomahawks, regailia, and half assed customs making them into a side show. And they scam the members. Many times ppl going off family legend they are cherokee. Being swindled out of money for worthless geneological dna testing, or fees for tribal membership. BTW, first clue, they aren’t a tribe. There are currently more than 200 known fraud Cherokee tribes.
I know a lot of people don’t understand the big deal in dressing up as an 'indian' for Halloween is disrespectful, but our image has been distorted and misrepresented for 5 centuries. Personally, I don’t care if a kid wants to be Tonto. I care that the image that kid has of natives has been propagated at all.
Think about those things so personal to you, like your grandmother, would you take kindly if I dressed up like her and mocked everything you loved about her? Or took the American flag and made it into a novelty that no longer held it’s original meaning to the world?
These traditions are important because so much is lost already. They are our traditions and heritage. Ours. We have shared enough.