July 05, 2011

Irish "Indian Chief Head Dress"

Blogger Stephen Bridenstine recently visited Ireland. His findings seem to confirm that no one in Ireland knows anything about Indians.

Going Native in Ireland Part ICarroll's Irish Gift Stores is a huge chain of souvenir shops strung out along the main tourist thoroughfares in downtown Dublin. They sell everything from Leprechaun key chains to Guinness slippers to "Kiss me, I'm Irish!" T-shirts. If it can be made green, white, and orange, it will be sold at Carroll's.

I thought I had seen it all when my eyes fell upon the most mind-boggling souvenir imaginable!
Decades of western media stereotypes have taught Americans and Irishmen alike that the headdress wearing Plains Indian is the ultimate Indian. To wear any other Native head covering would simply be second rate! Even when rooting on Irish teams, people want that universally recognized "fierce" look of the Plains warrior with headdress and war paint.

So who exactly would ever buy the headdress and why? My money goes on those young hipster types such as the Glastonbury “Indians.” The types who sport nostalgic clothing in an effort to look hip/ironic but instead look like they're stuck in some multi-dimensional multi-cultural time warp.

Just check out the grinning fools on the packaging!

Comment:  The online version is sold under "Novelty Costumes" and called an Indian Chief Hat. Because the Irish believe Indians are colorful entertainment figures, like clowns. Because they believe Indians are too savage to practice religion, so their sacred regalia is a "hat."

Defenders of the "Indians" showband will say this is more "harmless fun." If so, I say it's racist "harmless fun." I don't see them dressing up as stereotypical blacks in blackface and Afro wigs. Or as stereotypical Latinos, Asians, or Muslims. They're discriminating by race--hence, racist.

This isn't something unique to Ireland, of course. People in the US wear the same stupid headdresses for the same ignorant reasons. Whether they realize it or not, whether they intend it or not, both groups of people are racists.

For more on the subject, see "Irish" Showband Emulates "Indians" Showband and Showband Critics = "PC Cockroaches"?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If our own American citizen brethren here in the US of America do not even know about the indigenous people before them, why do we expect nations and people around the globe to have a grasp at any knowledge of Native America?

Most countries around the globe and even many within our own hemisphere share the stereotypes and absent knowledge about American Indians, just ask our returning soldiers in the armed forces about what Middle Eastern, Asian and European people really know about Native America and you will find that major American networks and media corporations have succeeded in fueling racism and ignorance abroad.

It is a part of the continued genocide Americans keep alive. You kill a culture by re-inventing it with your own supremacist versions. American history books are the initial interpretations all American kids get, so I call this, "acceptable ignorance".

We must educate here before we can educate anywhere else.