Red Haircrow

An award-winning author/poet, freelance news correspondent, chef and former law enforcement officer of mixed Native American descent (Chiricahua Apache/Cherokee) who lives in Berlin, Germany. Red Haircrow holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, and is a Graduate Student at Montana State University Bozeman. Flying With Red Haircrow, is Red’s multi-media indie company. All comments, feedback and inquiries can be directed to theredhairedcrow at gmail.com. Unless noted, all photos were taken by and are the property of Red Haircrow ©2010-2015. All rights reserved.

 

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Stop Making Excuses: Why Parodies Like the “#RidiculousSix” Must Be Rejected

loren-anthony-adam-sandler
Photo source: instagram.com/lorenanthony

 Updated 9 May 2015: the reality is, Sandler and Netflix are not going to stop filming this movie or not release it when its finished despite the protests. Editing out the most strongly offensive by majority is probably the best reality of what might/is happening. We can make it a learning experience and work on our solidarity so there would be far less of this divide between natives where some stay and take the BS.  Personally, I’m tired of “being agreeable” and understanding and admonishing when its gets you nothing but payoff money. No selling out out cultures!
 

After reading some of the comments of native actors who stayed on set after almost a dozen others walked out of Adam Sandler’s and Netflix production of comedy/satire film, “Ridiculous Six“, one in particular caught my eye because it was so reasonable on one hand, yet it showed two particular notes for me. One, evidence of the deep indoctrination/tactics the US government of mostly European settlers have utilized successfully through the centuries: divide and conquer. Two, the actor used his feelings of being well treated on-set and  Mr. Sandler’s friendly interaction with native actors as a reason to excuse the insulting nature and offensive messages of the satire directed toward natives as a whole, but particularly against native women and elders. Finally, the inevitable “We have bigger problems to battle…” and “Lighten up…” phrases were used. You can find the entire message at the Rez Media Facebook page, as of this moment.

I appreciated that actors may have signed a contract for working, such as (well-known Saginaw Grant pointed out when asked in interview on the American Indian Movement radio broadcast this past week), is it more important than dignity and the betterment of your people as a whole? While I certainly appreciated the actor’s insight into the “behind the scenes” aspect, as well as an explanation on contracts, crew interaction, etc., is personal comfort more important than honest humor instead of derogatory insults?

I have done consultant work in films on native or native themed topics though not in the US, but more often worked as a freelance new correspondent on location in Europe for Indian Country Today Media Network, and a writer and psychologist otherwise. Yes, one might sign a contract to work on a film presented as “comedy/satire” BUT the strong majority of the time unless they are the main actors, they do not have the script for the entire film (or at all until their scenes are immediately uncoming during production). Also, the script can be revised over the time of filming.

I walked out of a film released here in Germany in 2014, where I had been contacted to work as a consultant (The White Comanche) which started out in good agreement as being an accurate depiction (by their admission) but when unacceptable revisions and decisions were made? It became unacceptable. You have to stand up for what you believe in. Should these actors have stayed if they objected to material once they learned of what was being said?

My point is, sure we have many other battles of a serious nature which absolutely should have as much or more vehement protest as natives have shown towards this movie. That would really help us as a whole, but just because that may be so, doesn’t mean we should let ignorant stereotypical representations that do reinforce negativity and inspire negative actions towards natives in real life, especially our children (the Lakota 57 incident comes to mind). Just like the mascot issue (#ChangeTheName, #NotYourMascots).

No, we do not need to lighten up! When you tell other people how they should feel just because you don’t feel a certain way, you minimize their feelings unfairly and unjustly. You are helping divide natives despite the unity you spoke of as being needed, as well as serving as the example whites hold up to excuse this kind of cultural and ethnic idiocy. This isn’t funny! Native American women suffer a disproportionately higher rate of violence, rape, murder and sexual abuse and its at the hands of non-natives, than any other group.  Here’s the violence against native women Fact Sheet. Sexual jokes in film towards native women aren’t funny!

Films such as these, use of native mascots, etc. have also been considered as being a battle not worth fighting by people who think similarly DESPITE such having been concretely shown to harmfully affect our youths. Native youth suicide is at epidemic proportions and by majority based on racism. Racism and prejudice fueled by people acting on native stereotypes such as presented in and perpetuatedby Sandler’s film. These things are shown to be causal factors, interconnected to suicide, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, those big problems previously mentioned.

There are always many battles in a war. Some may just be skirmishes, others might be full-blown battles, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be fought.

No, I don’t agree in wholesale bashing of someone trying to give natives work but when there are natives who don’t want to still be the latter day equivalent of sideshow freaks displayed by white people, don’t bash them either. Salute their courage instead because they are helping natives overcoming centuries of lies and injustice. In the past it brought wholesale death, today it can bring derision and mockery, all the while producers and directors are laughing all the way to bank.

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A great article by Noel Altaha on topic, “An Open Letter to the Native American Actors Who Walked Off the Adam Sandler Film” set. At Rez Group Media, among other notes:

  • The fact that boundaries were violated.  Boundaries are set to keep people and parities safe and respected based on agreed upon conditions.  The terms in this contract were breached once the film crew violated and disregarded the boundaries.
  • The fact that the film crew ignorantly hid behind the film category of “comedy” to justify their disrespect of Native women and elders and a culture.  There are a lot of modern day comedy films that do not violate the boundaries of respecting another culture so that argument falls flat on its face.

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Healing Relationships 2

Originally posted on Awakening the Horse People:

relationships2

Though we may experience intense feelings of loneliness that are very real, We are never actually “alone”.

Though it may feel like we are isolated without relationships in the world, the reality is very different.

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A Reality of 2014 Revealed

It has been said by a certain individual that I inexplicably„Disappeared. Cut contact with all former friends.“

I have not disappeared. I have been working at one particular location for three years which hasn’t changed, and continue going about my life in Berlin as I always have, plus the addition of my son. I have continued interaction with mutual friends and others with whom I have a personal affinity, understanding and/or like. I have continued my professional pursues, as well as undertaken another degree, which is very time intensive.

These two statements above are perfect examples of how someone can create and spread bias and „false truths“ based on their own limited perspective, personal interest or lack of responsibility of their actions.

The Reality:

For several months of 2014, actively from May until October, following a few unacceptable incidents regarding misunderstood information, attempts to control and some very skewed actions and negatives comments about my son, I was the focus of intense vehement verbal abuse, bullying, harassment and slander by this former friend. At that time, despite attempting to rectify the situation with the help of a voluntary mediator, I continued to receive slurs, taunts and insults to the point I cut all personal ties and contact with this person, blocked my phone and especially any SMS messages because of the spam level amounts.

However, for whatever reasons they may have felt reasonable, they continued to slander my name, lying and creating fantasies about my character and actions denigrating me to mutual acquaintances as well as potential business partners. The latter can prosecutable due to the fact their slander could effect my financial and economic status through lost projects, and my professional reputation, and in some cases did.

At the end of 2014, I again attempted to arrange a meeting to rectify the situation with the voluntary assistance of a mediator and was ignored and unacknowledged. I moved on, yet still continue to receive information they continue the spread misinformation about me.

I was raised that you do not disrespect older people by contradicting them, arguing with or disrespecting them in word or deed, even if you may not agree. I was also raised that you did not backstab or lie about other people, and you listen when someone tries to talk to you. I believe I was remiss in not directly addressing their lies and behavior as they were initially occurring, but I was raised to try to keep peace, not make trouble and there were more important things in my life to deal with than someone’s personal pique when I had repeatedly and reasonably addressed them.

Having been separated for my son for almost three years, 2014 was a monumental year for us to be together again, with all the difficulties family reunification can have in Germany when you are a foreigner. Being homeless for two and a half months October through mid December was also extremely difficult, and we are still recovering from that trauma with my focus on creating a stable home with my son who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome, and who is foremost in my life and mind, as any reasonable person should understand and respect.

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