Opinion

Sasha Houston Brown: Fashion falters again at playing Indian





"There is something insidiously ironic about being American Indian during the fall of the 21st century. It all starts with Columbus Day to mark our “discovery,” then moves right into the “it’s totally not racist to dress up as a hypersexualized Indian” awkward Halloween party, and goes out with a bang on Thanksgiving when we celebrate the survival of the Pilgrims and that harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship forged between colonizers and Indigenous peoples everywhere! However romanticized or factually inaccurate, these holidays happen to be the three days when Native peoples actually enter the mass psyche of American culture.

I don’t know about you, but I usually spend this time of year parading around in my Navajo Hipster panties, feather headdress (on loan from Karlie Kloss and Gwen Stefani), Manifest Destiny T-Shirt and knee high fringed moccasins made in Taiwan while watching a Redskins game, smoking a pack of American Spirits and eating genetically modified Butter Ball turkey, because I’m just that traditional.

Perhaps it’s that warm Indian summer weather that seemingly makes non-natives so eager to sport culturally-demeaning faux Indian apparel and legitimize it under the guise of “ignorance” or “appreciation.” After all, it’s totally cool to be an oblivious racist these days. Whatever the case, there have been unusually high rates of playing Indian this season."

Get the Story:
Sasha Houston Brown: Victoria’s Secret Flap: Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses (Indian Country Today 11/11)

Related Stories:
Ruth Hopkins: Not again! Fashion puts an 'Indian' on the runway (11/9)