As a Native American woman, I thought my stereotypical costume was subversive. Now I know I was wrong
By Elissa Washuta
At the party, I tried to explain what my costume was all about, but it never came out right. “I’m dressed as a sorority girl at a Cowboys and Indians party,” I’d say, or, “I’m dressed as a white girl in a Pocahontas costume.” Confused, my friends responded, “But aren’t you just dressed in a Pocahontas costume?”
Every Halloween, the campus population is peppered with people in costumes, their buy-in levels ranging from cat ears on a headband to a floor-length Jedi robe paired with an expensive-looking lightsaber. My students have their heads on straighter than I did, and I’ve never seen one of them dressed in one of the “Noble Warrior,” “Hot on the Trail,” “Pocahottie,” “Tribal Trouble,” “Sexy Tonto” or “Pow! Wow!” costumes I’ve seen for sale online. I hope that when the students step off campus, drop their books, peel off their university sweats and hoodies, and prepare for their night of spooky revelry, they remember that they’re on Duwamish and Suquamish land.