Native Appropriations

I’m going to take a pause from my series on cartooning for this thanksgiving post. Perhaps our most complicated and contested holiday, today is both a time of giving thanks for what we have and seeing family, as well as a day of mourning and protest for the genocide that the holiday cannot be separated from.

In honor of this day, I am featuring my friend and colleague’s very popular blog, Native Appropriations. The blog is a “forum for discussing the use of Indigenous cultures, traditions, languages, and images in popular culture, advertising, and everyday life.” In particular, the blog critiques the appropriation and use of native symbols, clothing, and other cultural products by the majority white culture — like the current fad for “hipster headdresses,” or the ever-popular “sexy indian” halloween costumes.

The author, Adrienne Keene, reminds us of the need to not only recognize the horrors of the past, but to do the ongoing work of honoring and defending native culture in a context of cultural hegemony. Adrienne is, in many ways, a cultural organizer, using social media to create an alternative space in which counter-narratives can be told and shared. Spaces like this are necessary for building community, and initiating larger cultural shifts. The need for such a space around this issue is clear from the incredible following she has built up.

I highly recommend you hop over and visit Native Appropriations.