June 09, 2013

Half-naked drummer dressed as "Indian"

A Facebook friend brought this video to my attention:

The caption originally said:Kevin Lucas, Tribal Prayer for World Peace, Cahokia Winds by the Kevin Lucas Orchestra

Kevin plays his heart out, dressed as a Native American, in a cave in Southern Illinois.
Ghostcat76 had the following debate with Lucas in the comments section on YouTube:

Click on the image to read it enlarged.

Some Facebook comments on this YouTube exchange:I'd like to see his list of endorsements.

I am so sick to death of being deeply respected and appreciated.

Tell me about it, I was told by someone that he respected me and the native americans as "children of nature." That was his apology after first insulting me.

As a Choctaw person, the "fact" that whomever dressed him is "blood" Choctaw embarrasses the shit out of me. And what does he mean by "blood" Native friends. Opposed to the "Indian in spirit," or even better, the reincarnated variety?

He seems to be misinterpreting your comment as a complaint against his message -- dude, if you want to bring attention to all the things you've spent time researching, ditch the offensive art project and actually do something productive.
Comment:  My take on the exchange:

Well, Lucas articulated his reasons better than most racists or stereotypers. But he's not much different from the typical mascot supporter or hipster in headdress. How about making a statement in one of a hundred ways other than stereotyping Indians as primitive people of the past, bright boy?

The original offense is obvious: dressing up with no shirt in warpaint, feathers, and beads. This doesn't represent any real Indian in the past, and certainly not an Indian today. Yet he has the temerity to describe himself as "dressed as a Native American."

From which of the hundreds of tribes, Lucas? From what era in their 10,000-year history?

Oh, wait...it isn't from any of those sources. It's from movies, TV shows, sports mascots, advertisements, and Halloween costumes. I.e., from our culture as filtered through the media. Fail.


Play your percussion instruments without the stereotypical costume, Lucas. That would be a great way to honor Cahokia, tribal people, and world peace. Dressing up as an phony Indian doesn't honor Indians, it mocks and belittles them. Whether you realize it or not.

Note: Lucas disabled the video's comments and changed the caption to eliminate the tribal references. It now says:Kevin Lucas, solo, Cahokia Winds by the Kevin Lucas Orchestra Your music and sentiments are fine, dude, but the costume is still objectionable. Think twice before you do something like this again.

For more on the subject, see Anthropology Students Dressed as "Indians" and Debauched "Indians" on Caesarian Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Did that music remind anyone else of the soundtrack to Avatar?

Just don't let him know that the name "Lucas" ultimately derives from lykos.

dmarks said...

Anon: And "Avatar" reminded me of countless New Age, supposedly- Native-inspired music tracks.

Anonymous said...

Essentially. The 1491s did a good job taking down Avatar.

Is it bad that my first Avatar-related thought is "I'm blue, abadi-abadai, abadi-abadai, abadi-abadai..."