April 06, 2011


Blogger Carrie Baranet reviews the schlocky tourist merchandise she encountered when she recently visited Oklahoma:

Schlock-lahoma!So, I spent the weekend in Oklahoma. I used to live there so, you'd think I'd be used to it. However, I'm always shocked by Oklahoma's love/hate relationship with it's Indigenous population. They advertise it as "Native America." However, when it comes to respecting actual Native Americans, well, that's a different story. In Oklahoma, nowhere is safe from "Awful."

Comment:  To be fair, not all the items are equally schlocky. Some are genuine attempts at Native-inspired art. Also, the southern Plains tribes living in Oklahoma did have chiefs and tipis, so these images aren't totally stereotypical. But the rest of the imagery--braves, wolves, canoes, eagles, etc.--is the same ol' stereotyping.

For more on the subject, see Tonto Revisited Stereotype Exhibit, Indian Toys and Games, and Indian Kitsch in Wisconsin Dells.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indigenous tourism. Great. I don't think any place with indigenous peoples hasn't used them for tourism.

Ainu artist Bikky Sunazawa had a term for it, "kanko Ainu". (Kankoukyaku means "tourist" in Japanese.)