Having “The Talk” with Mom.

The do’s and dont’s of cultural appropriation

These are my tips on how to look good, feel good, and make everyone comfortable!

       Hey guys, so today we are going to have “the talk” with mom.  I know this isn’t what you were expecting but I can guarantee this will be way better than the one you had when you were around 14. To start off with we are going to learn about fashion and how to look GREAT but not at the expense of peoples customs, beliefs, identities and feelings!


        I just got finished reading a book called Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You by Andy Boyle, ( which is a great book and pretty insightful to the “real world” and since I’m Mom right now i’d like to better you for the future ahead).There is a chapter called “The Asshole Test” and it discuses making mistakes in the form of inappropriate jokes or even cultural appropriation and getting corrected on them. The main factor he stresses is that everyone makes mistakes but once corrected/ educated then that is where the true test starts. Basically it comes down to if you are educated and corrected and still choose to live your life in a offensive and inappropriate way…..Guess what. You’re an asshole. ( and lets not be.)

  • I will stick 3 quarters in the swear jar.
  • Also if you would like to borrow the book, Cate knows where to find me 🙂



      This is where we get down to business and discuss what not to wear and I may even give you some very reasonable and helpful alternatives!


This is just so wrong on all levels.


When shopping for accessories always make sure you are very diligent about finding pieces that are not stolen from another culture. This is a major problem in big retail chains that use similar or stolen ideas from Native Americans and mass produce cheap jewelry for their own profits and advancements.  If you think a product is cute but realize its probably stolen DON’T BUY IT. Chances are you are 100% right and with some online research you can find an authentic native american piece, help tribal communities, and look great doing so! ( Im sure the quality is way better also and the prices are great for authentic things online).

This goes for all jewelry, rugs, art, utensils, you name it!

  • Helpful Tip- It is Illegal under the Indian arts and crafts act of 1990 to sell non-native goods as authentic.

Be leary about website and always be a skeptic until you know for sure whether something is real or not.





We are now going to discuss some issues that have been called out as appropriation in the fashion industry. 

In 2011, Urban Outfitters was in some pretty hot water for their decisions to sell items such as flasks, socks, and underwear tagged as Navajo. So to be clear they went and stole patterns from a native tribe, used their name and likeness and tried making a profit on some god awful $8 underwear that looks like they’re going to get reallllyyy personal with your less-than desirable areas. Have companies become so blind to right and wrong?


Here is the link to the agreement made in the case.

  • If you want great underwear, I recommend Calvin Klein or even better for both Male and Female alike, Me Undies. You couples out there can get matching pairs! What a concept! (there is also cool glow in the dark halloween ones J.S)



Adidas thought it would also be a great idea to make a whole outfit to represent a real life totem pole for their own profitable gain. Don’t they already have enough money!? shouldn’t they be using it for better? Guess not.

  • My recommendation: If you want a super cute workout outfit in hopes you see someone cute at the gym,(never understood that), you should not be wearing a totem pole. They will think you’re crazy and not only for the outfit but for the appropriation you are representing. Please just keep to your own culture.
  • If you are honestly desperate for a cute outfit that won’t offend people, Target is a great place or Lululemon has very comfortable and lasting gear.

We are now at one of my main points of this subject .Headdresses.

  • Unless you are a member of a native tribe and have the honor of wearing one such as being the elders and men of the tribe who have been chosen, you should never in my opinion put one on. This is , I feel, one of the highest disrespects against the native american community. The spirituality and the meaning of these peoples cultures are being thrown out the window by people who have no right to wear them. One of the biggest Headdress scandals happened when a Victoria’s Secret model came down the runway in their annual fashion show in her Bra and underwear but was accessorized by native american jewelry and a large floor length headdress. The outrage of the Native American community got the segment stripped off of television and the company shamed on all media outlets. VS should be ashamed.
  • Another problem with the disrespect is from people thinking its ok to “be different”, “look crazy” and “get wild” at music festivals. All for what!? To honor the culture? NO, but to get wasted, stoned and be careless while trying to be cool!
  • If you want to be cool at a festival refer to the life of Vanessa Hudgens. She is the goddess of festivals. At least I think so.
  • We already talked about giant retail stores and their huge markets. Don’t tell me “you couldn’t find anything else”, cause’ guess what- you can.
  • Dont tell me you wear it to get “closer to nature” (WHAT!?).. If you want to get closer to nature, be like me and spend a week of your summer in the Bahamas  just to go to Hawaii to spend an addition 3 weeks there. Let me tell you. Life changing and as close to nature as you can get. Don’t think I offended one person
  • If you can’t afford a trip and want to get closer to nature, do a juice cleanse while camping for all i care.
  • No excuses.

Final buisness we need to discuss before we finish since October is upon us.


Im just letting you all know that Halloween is my favorite holiday and you WILL NOT ruin it for me or anyone else. This includes what you say, and also WHAT YOU WEAR. 

Now I understand all of you. From the go-getter who has a costume a year in advance to the last minute shopper. I get it! The fact is you want to look good and be something semi-unique. We get it, we all have been there. There is a question you have to ask yourself tho. Is what I wear for one night worth the possibility of hurting someone and scarring your reputation all because you wanted to look good? What I am getting at is there are costumes out there that are severely offensive to native americans. These are generalized and stereotyped and again companies trying to profit against cultures that are not theirs.  There are so many ideas in the world in regards to costumes that I can’t fathom why anyone would want to pick costumes that are offensive. I know you all can use the internet so be whatever your heart desires with the exception of hurting the cultures and feelings of others.

Now ladies this is particularly to you. 2 words. Sexy and Halloween. This is the night where you can put on some skimpy, cute outfit on and feel free from judgement. The whole worlds your oyster but do not pick out the sexy “tribal temptress” outfit. That is bad form and come on we all know the classic cop is the way to go.

  • If you need costume ideas- Pinterest!
  • Couples costume? Cosmo and Wanda! Fireman and Dalmatian. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy! I mean this is just too easy!


* *I hope you guys all took something away from my thoughts and ideas. Please comment and discuss any other forms of cultural appropriation you have noticed or just keep this topic going! Thanks guys -Mom.


Stereotyping Native Americans and NAGPRA

The stereotyping of Native Americans began with the conquest of Christopher Columbus in 1492. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella financed Columbus’ voyage to the New World in hope to further expand the region of Spain while searching for gold. Soon after Columbus came into contact with the Taino people, he coined the term los Indios, geographically stemming from his navigational error of India. He named the Taino people los Indios  because he thought he had encountered India. After his journey across the Atlantic, he wrote to the King and Queen of Spain addressing his new discovery of the Americas.  In Columbus’ letter, he describes the land as plentiful and the native people as “barbaric” and “timid.” With that being said, this letter and Columbus’ encounter with the indigenous people in the New world generalized an entire culture. This stereotype influenced the assimilation of native people, making Europeans believe that they would benefit by abiding to their culture.

With this stereotype in mind, white America still uses racial slurs in the dominant culture. The term “redskin” refers to the skin color of Native Americans, and it was predominantly used by Europeans. In colonial times, “redskin” originated the violent practice of killing Native Americans in terms of carrying out bounties. During King Phillips War, bounties were put in place to kill Native Americans, specifically scalping them. Therefore, in that context, “redskin” refers to the red scalp. This stereotype has been prevalent for years, but one of the most controversial issues is the Washington professional football team’s controversial “Redskins” name.

Image result for washington redskins protest minneapolis
This picture was taken on November 3rd, 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. People are protesting the Washington professional football team’s controversial “Redskins” name.  Michael Klopman, “Thousands Protest ‘Redskins’ Name In Minneapolis Before Game” (Huffington Post, 2014).

Native Americans have been questioning the professional football team’s name for years, and it’s contributing to the ethnic stereotype that was created when Columbus came to the New world and during the colonization era. The term “redskin” perpetuates negative connotations towards native people and their traditions and rituals. Negative stereotyping Native Americans is seen all across the media, whether that being sport mascots, political cartoons, Halloween costumes, etc.

This drawing represents the construction of the Dakota access pipeline and the protests following these events. The Editorial Board, “Time to Move the Standing Rock Pipeline” (The New York Times: 2016).

The Dakota access pipeline was being constructed across Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to southern Illinois as well as the Missouri River, Mississippi Rivers, and Lake Oahe, which is part of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Thousands of protesters came to North Dakota to protest the Dakota access pipeline. In September of 2016, workers bulldozed sacred Sioux land, resulting in protesters entering the area and getting attacked by attack dogs. The Dakota access pipeline protest foreshadows the conquest of Christopher Columbus. The Europeans took away indigenous lands for themselves, and now we’re continuing to do it.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed on November 16th,  1990, and protects the rights and artifacts of Native Americans in America. Under NAGPRA, federal agencies and other institutions are required to return all cultural items back to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes, including both human remains and objects from museums. In Section Two of NAGPRA, “‘cultural affiliation’ means that there is a relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced historically or prehistorically between a present day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and an identifiable earlier group” Federal Historic Preservation Laws: NAGPRA (National Center for Cultural Resources, National Park Service, Department of the Inferior, 2006), Section 2. NAGPRA attempts to redress issues in the American society regarding Native American heritage, but is undercut by long-ingrained stereotypes and bad-faith actors. In terms of the Dakota access pipeline, the federal institution violated NAGPRA due to the findings of artifacts in the sacred land that was bulldozed.

Artifacts that were discovered on the Dakota access pipeline route in Morton County. Amy Dalrymple and Mike Nowatzki, “Company showed ‘lack of transparency’ in reporting artifacts discovery in days leading up to pipeline conflict” (The Bismarck Tribune, 2016).

In our society today, there are even more examples of Native American stereotypes. What other stereotypes have you seen in the media? Do you think that Columbus started the stereotypes of native people? What can we do as students to stop the stereotypes of native people in America?


Portrayal of Myths through Political Cartoons

Throughout the history of the United States, there has consistently been a definitive way to understand the perception of American Indians – political cartoons. This kind of popular media can inform a viewer of any era generally what stereotypes, perspectives, and myths are popular at any time that the political cartoons can be found.

One thing that is important to note about the portrayal of American Indians is that it did not seem to be intended to be accurate – rather, the illustrators portrayed American Indians in whatever way was convenient for them. Often, this meant making an association between American Indians and violence or savagery, as well as more abstract associations like wilderness and distinctness. Sometimes, however, American Indians were reduced to symbols of freedom and wilderness to idealized colonial American values.

On that note, here are six interesting political cartoons that portray Native Americans in some form. As students of American Indian history, we can use these images to analyze popular opinions of each time period and what those opinions might have meant for the Native Americans involved.

1774: “The able doctor, or, America swallowing the bitter draught.” Cartoon. Library of Congress. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97514782/.

This is one of the cartoons we analyzed in class. This cartoon was published in London in 1774, and shows Lord North forcing tea representative of the Intolerable Acts down the throat of a representation of America; in this case, a partially uncovered Native American woman. In the background, France and Spain watch curiously, and Britannia – the representative for Britain – shields her eyes in shame. In this instance, Native American imagery is used to sympathize with colonists, using the ‘wild’ and ‘free’ symbolism that colonists in America tended to idealize.

1783: “Shelb—ns sacrifice / invented by Cruelty ; engraved by Dishonor.” Cartoon. Library of Congress. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004673514/.

This political cartoon was originally published in London in 1783, at the official end of the American Revolution. It depicts a British man standing by and watching as American Indians kill Loyalists in America, with Britannia attacking the man. This cartoon makes enemies of Native Americans by depicting them as war-like killers who attack innocent people, calling it “a faithful representation of a Tragedy shortly to be performed on the Continent of America.” It turns Britons and Loyalists against American Indians.

1812: Charles, William. “A scene on the frontiers as practiced by the ‘humane’ British and their ‘worthy’ allies.” Cartoon. Library of Congress. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002708987/.

This political cartoon, originally published in Philadelphia in 1812 by illustrator William Charles, makes an enemy of American Indians. The cartoon was published during the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, and some American Indian tribes sided with British troops, who, according to the cartoon, would offer rewards for a certain number of scalps of Patriot soldiers. In the title, Charles uses the word “worthy” to refer to Native Americans sarcastically, and directly calls for all “Columbia’s Sons” to fight back against them with a verse:

“Arise Columbia’s Sons and forward press, / Your Country’s wrongs call loudly for redress; / The Savage Indian with his Scalping knife, / Or Tomahawk may seek to take your life; / By bravery aw’d they’ll in a dreadful Fright, / Shrink back for Refuge to the Woods in Flight; / Their British leaders then will quickly shake, / And for those wrongs shall restitution make.”

The verse also reduces American Indians to war-like ‘savages’.

1886: “Historical caricature of the Cherokee nation.” Cartoon. Library of Congress. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2008661841/.

This political cartoon, published in 1886, is much more sympathetic to the American Indian experience than previous cartoons. It depicts white men tying down the Cherokee Nation and cutting his hair to shape him to their ways. Various things are written on the Cherokee Nation, representative of what’s affecting him, including railroads, lands in Alabama and Arkansas, U.S. marshals, and U.S. courts (which are the scissors cutting off his hair). In the background, there is the “National Cemetery.”

1894: Opper, Frederick. “Black Hawk War.” Cartoon. Indians of the Midwest. 2011. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://publications.newberry.org/indiansofthemidwest/indian-imagery/stereotypes/.

Not all were supportive of Native American rights in the late 19th century, though. This illustration comes from Frederick Opper in 1894. It was drawn for the book, History of the United States, written by Bill Nye, who was staunchly anti-Indian and who was very popular for this reason. This cartoon was drawn for the history of the Black Hawk War of 1832. Black Hawk is depicted as scalping a United States soldier, and “is caricatured to look both ridiculous and treacherous.”

1995: Branch, John. “You Don’t Look Like an Indian.” Cartoon. Indians of the Midwest. 2011. Accessed September 20, 2017. http://publications.newberry.org/indiansofthemidwest/indian-imagery/stereotypes/.

This political cartoon, illustrated by John Branch in 1995, delves into the centuries-old argument about whether or not someone is allowed to be Indian, based on stereotypes. In this cartoon, the stereotypes the boy is thinking of include imagery of Disney’s Pocahontas, a Washington Redskins helmet, the Cleveland Indians logo, a racing horse, and a cartoon of Native American with one feather in his hair. He doubts the girl is really American Indian because she doesn’t fit into the stereotypes.

These examples are not the only sources available that display perceptions of American Indians. If there are other political cartoons that are particularly useful for understanding myths about American Indians in the United States, please leave a link for the class to view them. Further, what other information can you glean from the sources that are here? What other myths are represented by these cartoons and by others?

Welcome to your blog!

This is a space for you to talk about the issues important to you.  Before you begin blogging, be sure you’ve done the following things:

  1. Told me what you want your screen name to be for this blog and received confirmation that I’ve created that identity for you
  2. Consulted with the class schedule to be sure which week you’re in charge of the blog and which weeks you’re a general participant.

Have fun here!