“Pretendians”: Why Offensive to Indigenous As A Whole


A brief reference, but a reference, in the July/August edition of Mother Jones Magazine article “Last of the Munichans” with photos by a colleague, Canadian photographer Jen Osborne.

On the topic of Indian hobbyists, cultural appropriation and why these people do it and vehemently feel they have the right to be “Indian hobbyists” or some even make up “native sounding” names, choose a tribe, gather a following by saying they’re native (when they’re really German, etc.). Most ignore or simply do not care what their lies and playacting take away from true natives, negatively influencing their next generation of with “half-truths”.

One of the most important things they dismiss or won’t acknowledge, and what causes us so much anger for natives when anyone does this (and its a huge problem) is the way any minority might feel when someone is pretending to be them: They have not lived with the centuries of oppression, racism and genocide, part of which is still on-going for Native Americans, and the others we are still trying to recover from. Until 1978  in the USA, it was considered a criminal, arresting offense to practice our beliefs and ceremonies, and our many of our dances, our patterns, our symbols, clothing or regalia are part of our beliefs.

Truly, they are simply Pretendians no matter how authentic they try to be or if a comparative few natives facilitate their play, or the ones who think its just fun to do sometimes to fantasize. Fantasize about being raped, murdered or having your family, your children raped and murdered in front of you. Losing your homes, your land. Being taken away from your family, (historical and still on-going Lakota People’s Law Project). Forced sterilization. Denial services, mockery, being spit at or having things thrown at you (Lakota 57)…just for being Indian. I could go on. The rejection of such playacting and our anger, though dignified, is justified though we still strive to concentrate on progress: revitalization and resurgence.

Red Haircrow

Also on topic:
“Native Americans have commented on the bitter irony of these plastic shamans profiting from the degrading, twisted versions of Native American rituals while many indigenous people still live below the poverty level. New Age interest in Native American cultures appears more concerned with exoticized images and romanticized rituals revolving around a distorted view of Native American spirituality than with the indigenous peoples themselves and the very real (and often ugly) socio-economic and political problems they face as colonized peoples.”

Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sun Dances: New Age Commercialization of Native American Spirituality, by Lisa Aldred

(via echtrai)https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exploring-Our-Native-Ancestors/291741691008048?fref=nf

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