Tell me why, Tumblr.
What makes me sad is how outraged a person can become because some children are dressed up for Thanksgiving. I’m sorry that you are so self-consumed to think that all people are ignorant towards your culture and just out to mock and disrespect you. I remember learning about Native American culture in grade school, and dressing up like this. It wasn’t to make fun, it was to embrace the culture and lifestyle. To learn, and become accepting. As children, we learn not by words, but by experience, by actions. By things that are fun and exciting to us, like dressing up and pretending. Perhaps the reason people don’t understand or engage in certain native cultures, is because certain people find it insulting for other ethnicities and peoples to do so.
I know a multitude of aboriginal people who held ceremonies and dances and celebrations when I was a child, where all people, young and old, were invited to come share a taste of their world. Sometimes it was like a large pot-luck where traditional native foods were served, sometimes we’d just sing and dance and DRESS-UP. This is how you gain awareness, respect and admiration to a culture. Not by being pompous and pig-headed and shunning everyone from educating and involving themselves in it.
I’m not outraged. I’m saddened. I’m weary. I’m confused. But I’m not outraged.
I don’t think that these folks are trying to be hurtful. I don’t think that it was thier intent to mock or disrespect. I think these folks are incredibly ignorant and that they take hurtful, detrimental actions out of ignorance. I think that they honestly believe, as you believe, that what they’re doing is harmless, is good, is educational.
But it isn’t.
That’s the point.
What they’re doing isn’t educational: No truth or understanding is being imparted, only lies and mythology.
What they’re doing isn’t harmless: It harms real, living Native American people.
If you dressed up like this in grade school you probably know fuck all about Native American culture. You probably know a pack of myths and lies and stereotypes and bullshit because that was what was being fed to you, by people who themselves didn’t know any better.
Intent is not magical.
You can cause hurt without meaning to.
Never blame on malice what can be explained by ignorance, after all.
But if I’m wearing curbystomp boots, and you’re wearing ballet flats, it doesn’t matter how accidental my stepping on your foot was: Your foot is now really fucking hurt. My intent will have had nothing to do with your pain.
When you teach children to ‘become accepting’ of this bullshit, you reduce their capacity to ‘become accepting’ of reality. You’ve taught them that -this- is what Native Americans look/act/live like, and now they’ll have to unlearn this bullshit in order to learn the reality of Native American lives.
And yes, children DO learn by experience. Which is why it’s extra super important to make sure that their experiences impart truth and critical thinking skills. There are better means of teaching. Attending events held BY indigenous folks is one of them. That’s awesome. Please, for the love of fuck, DO let indigenous folks teach you about ourselves when we offer to do so. But that is not what’s going on in the photo and story above.