An award-winning author, poet, photojournalist, chef and former law enforcement officer of mixed Native American descent (Chiricahua Apache/Cherokee) who lives in Berlin, Germany. Red Haircrow is also a psychotherapist, press agent, and owns and operates Flying With Red Haircrow, a multi-media entity. 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 ©2010-2014. All rights reserved.
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.” —Red Haircrow
From the Ohio University website
To try to help some natives place this in perspective, and the vehement hobbyist deniers or passive dismissive others: Replace the references, and the message is the same and its the same people doing the indigenous or cultural misappropriation. From the article, “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers” by Randa Jarrar.
“(European Indian hobbyists) confronted have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These (European Indian hobbyists) are more interested in their investment in (Native American Indian) dancing (singing/drumming/lifestyle) than in questioning and examining how their appropriation…causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.
When I have argued, online and in person, with (European Indian hobbyists), they have assured me that they learned to dance from (natives). This is supposed to make the transaction OK. Instead, I point out that all this means is that it is perfectly all right with these (native) teachers that their financial well-being (or ego) is based on self-exploitation. As a follow-up, (European Indian hobbyists) then focus on the…community aspect of (Native American Indian dancing/drumming/singing/lifestyles). Here, the argument ignores the long history of (European Indian hobbyist) appropriation of (native dancing, etc.) and becomes that this: the learning and performance of (native cultures), is not about race and appropriation.
But, here’s the thing. (Native American Indian cultures) are not vessels for (European Indian hobbyists) to pour themselves and lose themselves in. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that (European Indian hobbyists) can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of (comradeship) with each other; or can reclaim their (connection to the earth, nature, animals and native spirituality). Just because (European Indian hobbyists) don’t profit from (their) performance doesn’t mean (they) are not appropriating a culture.”
Hobbyists by Red Haircrow
Published on 24 February at Indian Country Today Media Network, it’s based on observations from myself and my son when visiting the “native inspired” event called the “Winter Pow-wow 2014″ that took place in Berlin, Germany just over a week earlier.
As usual, there are hobbyists who take offense to any critique of their activities, and others, like the activities themselves, who are sincere in their questioning and finger-pointing without seeming to have the ability to truly understand that however well meant, it is still considered misappropriation and disliked by many natives to have their cultures playacted (they aren’t native, so what else is it but pretending?). That’s just a fact.
They, like myself, may not dislike the hobbyists personally. You might even like some of them (I know a number, and do), but it doesn’t take away the fact they are copying another culture for their own reasons, desires, pursuits, etc. Whatever you want to call it, just be honest. I am a long time scholar of German history spanning centuries, do you see me dressing up in lederhosen, traditional regional or period German clothing pretending to German? No, and you never will. I honor my heritage, and I respect their culture and history too by not pretending to be one of them even if it’s just for a day. I don’t know why they can’t get the concept.
As instructed I wrote what I saw around me and how I was treated. I wrote it solely from my perspective, again, as I was required. Until someone “walked a mile in my moccasins”, to coin a phrase, then they have no right to question. Another quote, this time it’s Shakespeare, “Thou doth protest too much!” Culpability. Feeling of guilt with a need to justify themselves. The reactions tell the tale.
Plus articles have editors. Editors who edit. They edit out some information that might be more explanatory. Don’t you just love readers who like to attack you? Grain of salt.
Check out the article: “A Star Trek Convention for Native Enthusiasts: Inside a German Pow Wow.”
Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/02/24/star-trek-convention-native-enthusiasts-inside-german-pow-wow-153712
Other articles at this site on native topics: