June 28, 2011

"Indians" showband gets attention

About a year ago I posted on the Irish showband called "The Indians":

Most racist musical group ever?
Battle of the bands:  Gays vs. Indians
Irish band is just harmless fun?

As you may recall, they dress up like this:

And describe themselves like this on their Facebook page (mistakes included):This "The Indians “BIG CHIEF” (Raymond Kelly), is lead singer and his stage name is GERONIMO. He is one of the finest vocalists in the business. Other members of the band are Eamonn (Sitting Bull) on keyboards, Kevin (Long Arrow) on drums, Brian (Crazy Horse) on bass guitar, and Tommy (Dull Knife) on lead guitar.I promptly forgot about them, but they're back in the public eye.

"Indians" hit the mainstream

The subject arose Sunday when Native America Calling, the Native radio show, posted this video on its Facebook page:

Soon after that the NativeCelebs page, where I contribute, also posted this video. Both postings garnered some negative comments, but nothing noteworthy.

I found that the "Indians" had a Facebook page with the text above. About 300 fans had posted the usual fan comments: "You're great!" "Loved your show!" Etc. I posted the link to my wall and asked what my Native friends thought of the band's using the names "Geronimo," "Sitting Bull," and "Crazy Horse."

People began reposting the link on their walls while expressing their disbelief. Even better, they went to the "Indians" page, "liked" it, and began posting comments. Here are some of them:

Natives attack "Indians" showband

The conflict continues

I found that the "Indians" had a second page with even more fans, so I posted the link to that too. People began sharing that, going to the page, and posting more comments.

Since it was late at night in Ireland, these comments went unanswered for hours. When 8 or 9 am rolled around in Ireland, the page operators presumably woke up, saw the comments, and deleted them. The same thing happened Monday. The comments accumulated in the afternoon and evening while the Irish slept, and they deleted them Tuesday morning.

Finally the page operators caught on that the protests weren't going away. We believe they restricted the pages so only people in Ireland and the UK could see them. In other words, they banned the Indians from commenting on the "Indians."

That's where the matter stands now. A wide swath of Indian country, including members of AIM, are now aware of the "Indians." They can expect criticism and protests for, well, the rest of their existence.

Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about a band that tours only the British Isles. I suggested writing a letter to Ireland's Human Rights Commission, with copies to any local indigenous groups similar to AIM and the media. Including the major outlets and any websites or bloggers who might be sympathetic. We'll see if that happens and does any good.

For more on harm of stereotypes, see Conservatives Use "Language of Savagery" and Grinding Indians into the Ground.

Below:  Three stereotypes in one logo...impressive!


jaine said...

oh thanks, that answers my questions in my other comment. Righto - time to ask my UK friends to take action on this.

Lucy said...

Oh wow, I haven't forgotten about this band, but I'd honestly though they'd have fallen apart by now. I just don't get this whole thing. I mean, apart from being incredibly offensive, it's also not funny or interesting in the slightest. I really wonder what could their fans possibly see in them.

none said...

I'm speechless.

Anonymous said...

cop on ye shower of gob shites its we dont mind when you typify the irish as drunkards and leprechans

Anonymous said...

And what about the Irish that do mind about being called drunkards and leprechauns? I'm sure there are some pretty intelligent and sober Irish?

Jaine said...

I'm not convinced the first anonymous comment is from somebody who is Irish. A bit try hard in the language department.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of pain in this world. Music is food for the soul. The Indians Show band brings entertainment to many people and children. Children with learning disabilities love the colourfulness and joy that the show band brings to their lives. They are not causing any harm or offence to anyone. They are very talented musicians and have been touring for many years.

Colette said...

Just found out about this band today, absolutely disgusting. So embarrassing for Ireland. Googled their name and 'racism' and your site came up. I'm going to email them and some venues they are playing - not that it will do much good! Colette (from Ireland originally but now living in Northern Ireland)