January 30, 2009

Choctalking subverts stereotypes

American Indians involved around the world in 'Choctalking'Between the small audience in the Studio Theatre and a screen backdrop displaying films stood LeAnne Howe, alone on stage.

Howe, a University professor in American Indian Studies and English, was performing her one-woman show, "Choctalking," on January 23 and 24.

Since Krannert Center for the Performing Arts asked Howe to have a performance last year, she has been writing, producing and staging this multimedia show. This 80-minute performance is a series of monologues showing that American Indians are involved with people from all over the world.

"I'm trying to show that American Indians are connected to communities around the globe in ways that may surprise mainstream audiences," Howe said. "Especially if you are used to thinking of American Indians in feathers and war paint."

At the University, Howe believes many students associate American Indians with feathers, largely because of the former mascot, the Chief.

Although she did not attend the University during the time the Chief was mascot, Jorie Kapp, freshman in LAS, said she thinks of the Chief when she hears "Native American."
Comment:  Again, an excellent example of how Indian mascots influence people's perception of Indians. If you're a mascot lover--even an Indian who's a mascot lover--you have to be pretty obtuse not to understand what's going on. Whatever you think you're doing, you're stereotyping Indians as primitive savages of the past...duh.

For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

Below:  A real Indian...

...and a phony Indian.

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