October 10, 2016

Fly on Hillary = spirit animal?

A tweet from educator Debbie Reese:In Native American culture, all animals are believed to have totems. When they cross your path unexpectedly, they mean something. So, we looked into what it might have meant that a fly landed on Hillary Clinton's face tonight.Comment:  Reese says CBS News got its info from a New Age website.

I believe CBS has garbled an already garbled claim. The fly on Clinton's face has a totem? What would the fly's totem be...another fly? An eagle? Donald Trump?

The actual claim, I think, is that all people have animal totems. Not that all animals have totems.

Of course, this claim is a false generalization about thousands of Native cultures. It may be true in a few cases--especially in Plains cultures--but I doubt it's widespread. I doubt it applies to everyone even within those cultures.

October 05, 2016

Buffalo God in American Gods comics


Comment:  This announcement helpfully includes an image of the figure who's sort of the elder god of the American continent.

A Buffalo God with a Pacific Northwest tattoo and a super-tomahawk? Looks like pan-Indian stereotypes to me.

For more on the subject, see America "Not a Good Country for Gods"?

October 01, 2016

Werewolves excised from Lone Ranger

A Native filmmaker says Disney excised a werewolf plot from Johnny Depp's The Lone Ranger:The tone is bonkers. All the underlying structure of Injun Werewolves is still there... We see Butch Cavendish eat the Lone Ranger's brother's heart, and then the next scene is wacky hijinx with Tonto. Tonto calls Cavendish "Wendigo" all through the film. 200 residents of Tonto's boyhood village were killed by two white men with pistols? No one ran away? They never ran out of bullets? Clearly it was supposed to be a werewolf attack. Helena Bonham Carter's leg was eaten by Cavendish. There are rabbit meat-eating bunny rabbits everywhere. The signs of the excision of the Werewolves are everywhere... and they're typically over the top and unnecessarily violent. They go utterly unexplained, and then are immediately papered over in each case by goofy pratfalls. It's just bizarre. I went in with a truly open mind, and was enjoying it for a while... but then it abruptly got stupid and long and wow was it tedious toward the end. The final action sequence is 30 minutes long, and it's visually amazing... But it comes too late to save a truly confused film.Comment:  Tonto says he's hunting Cavendish because Cavendish is a wendigo--a flesh-eating creature from the northeastern woodlands.

It doens't make sense for a wendigo to be in Texas--the movie's setting. Or in Monument Valley in southern Utah, the movie's actual setting.

It also doesn't make sense for Tonto, supposedly a Comanche Indian, to believe in or care about wendigos. It would be like a Chinese man hunting a Jewish golem. It could happen, but it makes no sense without an elaborate explanation.

I don't know anything about the supposed werewolf subplot. What's left is a villain who's inordinately evil because he's a wendigo--a malevolent spirit in human form. He eats human hearts and massacres whole villages--which isn't much different from your usual mass-murdering bad guy.

September 17, 2016

Pocahontas by Dingo Pictures

Pocahontas (Dingo Pictures)Dingo Pictures bring us their horrid take on Pocahontas but more importantly this is Wabuu’s origin story!

September 16, 2016

September 14, 2016

Apache Gold in Wyatt Earp

Another TV Western that occasionally featured Indians:

Apache Gold
Episode aired 7 March 1961The Clanton gang is selling liquor to the Apaches with Ike and Phin hoping their contact will tell the location of hidden gold rumored to be in a cave but it is causing unrest in the tribe. When Phin is captured, Earp must help free him.

Clarke Indians' "Tribal Family" poster

Girls High School Basketball Team's Poster Is Very Good And Very Bad

By Nick MartinThe poster, taken from the Facebook page of KCCI’s Andy Garman, has attracted anger from Native Americans, who are rightfully calling the poster out for its blunt appropriation of Native American culture. (Sloppy too! The totem pole, war dance, and headdresses mix and match from traditions of widely varying tribes.)

September 12, 2016

Red Rock Tomahawk video game

Game review: Flick'em Up, Red Rock Tomahawk: Don't mess with the Native Americans

By Ryan MorgeneggFlick'em Up is a game all about the pieces. In the box, a gamer gets the added scenery of three forests, a totem pole, a red rock mountain and one tipi. There are five native American figures, two bows, six arrows, a Tomahawk, a Gatling gun and six bullets.Comment:  Tipis, totem poles, and tomahawks in one setting? That's stereotypical.

By the time of the Gatling gun--1861 and after--Natives were using rifles as much as bows and arrows. The whole idea of modern soldiers fighting primitive warriors is stereotypical.

Whitewashing in Doctor Strange

Not Your Asian Ninja: How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Keeps Failing Asian-Americans

White isn’t a neutral color: “Doctor Strange,” Tilda Swinton and the “unwinnable” diversity argument

George Takei gets real about 'cringeworthy' Marvel casting for 'Doctor Strange'

The Director of Doctor Strange Thinks One Asian Character Makes Up for the Movie's Biggest Screw-Up

September 07, 2016

Black nationalist "Washitaw Nation"

Black nationalist group Washitaw Nation distances itself from the Baton Rouge shooter, who had pledged allegiance to it

By Jaweed Kaleem and Jenny JarvieGavin Eugene Long was the killer. The empire was the Washitaw Nation, an "indigenous" black group that claims ownership over vast swaths of the United States and Canada and of which Washington is a top leader.

In May 2015 in Jackson County, Mo., Long filed court papers declaring allegiance to the group, which has been monitored by the FBI and tied to sovereign citizen movements.
Comment:  Another fake Indian tribe.

August 31, 2016

Racist stereotypes in Sausage Party

“Sausage Party”’s race problem: This “equal opportunity offender” is just plain offensive

No matter how well-intentioned, this kind of comedy only really works in a world where opportunity itself is equal

By Nico Lang
Humphrey also pointed to Firewater, a Native American chief played by Bill Hader, who is distressingly reminiscent of the redface caricatures in “Peter Pan.” Like the Indian Chief in the Disney feature, he speaks in “grunts and uses sign language.”

August 30, 2016

Totem Vodka

Totem Vodka and Indigenous Cultural Appropriation

When, if ever, is it acceptable to adopt the cultural icons of an outside group?

By Alexandra Rodney
Totem poles are important symbolic creations of some First Nations families in Canada’s Pacific Northwest. They are symbols of family lineage that serve to document stories or histories of people, communities, or clans. The Totem Vodka bottle and marketing images erases these families while appropriating their symbols.

The bottle stopper is shaped like a Thunderbird, a supernatural bird that causes thunder and lightning according to First Nations mythology. The Thunderbird crest is traditionally carved on the totem poles of people from the Thunderbird clan of the Kwakwaka’wakw nations (on Vancouver Island).