October 13, 2010

"Conquistabros and Navajos" at Harvard

Students Challenge Holiday

Candlelight vigil honors resistance against colonial forces

By David H.A. LeBoeuf
This candlelight vigil comes after a themed party held by Sigma Chi on Friday night drew criticism from many members of Native Americans at Harvard College. A member of the Sigma Chi leadership told The Crimson that the event was called “Brave New World,” but the theme has been characterized by other students as “Conquistabros and Navajos.”

“It’s always very disappointing to see native cultures lumped into one group that you can dress up,” said Tia M. Ray ’12, vice president of Native Americans at Harvard College and a member of the Navajo tribe, explaining how she felt that the event made a “mockery” out of her tribe.

A member of Sigma Chi said that the event was not intended to offend anyone, and the controversy has prompted discussion within the organization on planning future events.
Comment:  'Bros and 'jos (hoes)...get it?

Equating Navajos with whores doesn't seem wise. Nor does equating men with the conquistadors who raped and killed Indian women.

If people were dressing up as Indians, that's another problem. Especially if they were dressing up in stereotypical feathers and leathers, though Navajos didn't wear such clothes.

All in all, it seems like a stupid idea, even if we don't know the details. If we did know the details, I'm sure it would seem much worse.

For more on the subject, see Stuff White People Do:  Indians and "Go Native" at the Visionary Village.

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