November 26, 2015

Indian costumes at annual Turkey Trot

Native American Activists Plan to Protest Redface Runners at Long Beach Turkey Trot

By Gabriel San RomanEvery Thanksgiving, runners head to Long Beach's annual Turkey Trot looking to put a dent in the calorie bombs sure to be gobbled up later in the day. They come by the thousands donning silly turkey hats with others wearing spoon and fork costumes. Too cute! Others, sadly, sport feather headdresses, sexy PocaHotties loincloths and war paint in a nauseating display of redface.

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 EdwardsA small group of protestors gathered near the beachfront site of the Long Beach Turkey Trot and called for ban against Native American-themed costumes at the event.

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.
Comment:  The above image shows what past Turkey Trots were like. In fact, this photo may have inspired activists to launch a protest on Facebook and in person.

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