By Gabriel San Roman
Native American activists are planning to protest this year's Turkey Trot, though, to put the brakes on redface runners. "Conquering our image is another form of colonization that began with the theft of our lands," says protest organizer Tahesha K. Christensen. "Redfacing is racist and it is no different than blackface, or making fun of Jews, Asians, or any other cultural group."
Christensen, a Native American of the Omaha Tribe, originally just wanted to find a charitable 5K around town to jog in when she heard about the Turkey Trot. Anna Christensen, Tahesha's mom and a Native activist in her own right, cautioned about the rampant redface she'd see. The would-be Turkey Trotter checked out the event's webpage and was mortified at all the photos of people playing Indian.
"It made me very angry and it really was painful to see all of those people so disrespectful to our Native cultures," she says. Christensen made polite pleas on the Turkey Trot's promotional page only to get blocked from commenting further.
And at the event itself:
Protesters want no Native American costumes at Long Beach Turkey Trot
By Andrew Edwards
The protestors consider the wearing of such costumes disrespectful to Native Americans and their cultures.
“I got to speak with the organizer and I got to ask him if he would kindly ban the costumes, and he said he’s not in a position to do that just yet, but he understands our concerns,” said Gray Wolf, a protester who said he’s active with the American Indian Movement. “I think we made a little headway.”
Such costumes were a rare sight at Thursday’s event. A reporter observed about five people among an estimated 4,000 attendees who donned feathered headware that somewhat resembled ceremonial Native American attire. Many more people wore hats resembling Thanksgiving turkeys.
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