By Jessica Yee
They are A Tribe Called Red and they hail from un-ceeded Algonquin territory in Ottawa (Canada). I’ve been going to their monthly Electric Powwow dance parties for a little while now where I’ve been known to shake my butt off and whisper politikin’ sweet-nothings into my friends ears as the unrepentant drum mash-ups beat on. I actually got to meet one part of the Electric Powwow craze DJ Bear Witness a while back when I emceed an Indigenous women’s spoken word show where he played a 65 minute beat set to an anti-war critique of colonization.
So I was beyond pleased to learn that MTV writers are now picking up on their stuff and making progressive-for-MTV-statements about them like, “it’s as right on and brilliant as a fashion shoot with emaciated European models in war bonnets is ignorant and lazy.” Which is interesting because lest we forget that MTV also produced the Dudesons who as some may recall me writing about here, very famously rode the train of appropriation and kept going west on their “Cowboys and Findians” episode that had just about every Native stereotype you can think of (and attempts from community to pull the show off MTV and issue an apology were unsuccessful). Not to mention of course the myriad of racist typecasting that plays on MTV 24/7.