By Stephen Crawford
Bassett said that mass representations of American Indians—like pop group No Doubt’s controversial music video for its song “Looking Hot,” and a Victoria’s Secret model walking a fashion runway in a traditional headdress, contributed to public relations crises. However, she said that social media has “created a space where Native Americans have taken control of their own identity.”
Although No Doubt and Victoria’s Secret issued apologies for their stereotyping, some in the Native American population are continuing their mission to educate the world on their heritage through Facebook, Twitter and online blogging. This action reflects a largely urban American Indian population throughout North America and in each one of the United States—not simply in the rural Southwest, as some may believe.
According to the 2010 census, and to the surprise of many, Bassett said that 71 percent of the American Indian population resides in urban areas of the United States, more than double the amount from 1970.
The Facebook page for a group called Idle No More has received more than 99,000 “likes” since early 2013, and the blogs “Native Appropriations” and “Urban Native Girl” are also doing their part to educate and inform.
Inaccurate and offensive portrayals “rob our communities of the right to be recognized as living, contemporary people,” Bassett said.
For more on the subject, see How Online Activism Works and Indians Connect Via Social Media.