Tomahawk Tassels: Canoe Adventure
Blogger Lisa Charleyboy provides some background on the stripper:
Tomahawk Tassels II
She is Cherokee and Irish, with her estranged father having Cherokee blood. "Growing up in Oklahoma, I have been exposed to Native American history and culture since I was very young," she says. "I realize how I took it for granted, and only now am able to fully internalize and express that history. Part of my personal journey is to research my roots and ancestral history. Burlesque performance has been the perfect medium for this."
She uses her performances "to remind others of our rich American Indian history while also making a satirical social commentary on stereotypes, specifically from the 1950's." This is an endeavour I find interesting, since I have a fascination with both 50s stereotypes and the kitsch that evolved from that
Some commenters rightly ripped Charleyboy's benign posting:
Are you kidding me? She is yet another person claiming Cherokee heritage in an attempt to legitimize her appropriation of Indigenous culture. Doing her "Indian" performance is what sets her apart and she's exploiting my culture to do so. Makes me sick to my stomach the way she tries to justify and legitimize the perpetuation of Indian stereotypes.
I suggest not going to see Cadillac and Tomahawk, as I've met both of them in many social situations, and I believe them to be nasty people. I think INTENTION is everything, and Tomahawk's intention is to get famous by exploiting and making a mockery of her part Cherokee blood. And no, I don't think that the Trail of Tears inspired her to take her clothes off.
Saying you are part-Cherokee is different than being Cherokee. (Seriously, who doesn't claim to be a "little Cherokee" these days?) It's just a prop or a shtick anyway. But ironically, she seems to think that her act is somehow internalizing and expressing her supposed heritage and Cherokee history. Kind of like an African American playing the part of the plantation "Mulatto Temptress" to reconnect with her Black "heritage."
Long and short of it is that I think she's full of it and that her entire act is racist. I am offended by it, and it supports, exploits and REINFORCES the "Native Princess" and "Indian Squaw" stereotypes. All I can say is that I would love to see her perform that act in the middle of Little Earth in Minneapolis and see how the Native women who live there would feel about her exploration of her "roots."
Indeed, she's doing the same thing as minstrel performers in blackface from previous eras. They weren't commenting "ironically" on their racist stereotypes and neither is she.
For more on Tassels' pathetic rationalizations, see The Dudesons, Polish Jokes, and Minstrel Shows and Okay to Stereotype in "Satires"?